Simply Backyard BBQ

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This year my husband decided he wanted to have a BBQ with all of his closest friends and their kiddos. AND because I couldn’t just have a so-so BBQ I decided to make a fun tablescape and some cute cupcakes! Here are pics of the décor!

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I put all the plastic spoons, forks, knives , napkins and straws in these mini paper bags so they would be easy to grab and use. The guests loved them!

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The menu was super simple: Burgers, hot dogs and potato chips, LOTS of potato chips!

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I made these mini burger cupcakes! They were a such a hit, I might be making a how to post on them in the future : )

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My cupcake stands get the most work out of all my party decor. I use them for EVERYTHING! Surprisingly, they were used for actual cupcakes this time.

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I also put some of the “burgers’ on a small grill and used it as the centerpiece for the table.

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Getting everyone to throw away their trash or recyclables is always a party challenge. These pop up disposable (and recyclable) trashcan and recycle bin made it much easier for guests to spot them.

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We have a pool and I made a just in case bucket for the party guests, sunscreen, a couple of towels and bug spray because the mosquitoes are something else in my backyard!

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Last but not least ( I don’t know why I didn’t get a better picture) but the mini solo cup shot glasses for after the kids were in bed!

I had such a great time planning this event and keeping it super simple means that I got to enjoy the event too!

About Me ~ Simply Cheyenne~

I wanted to share my story about how I ended up as a party planner and a cake artist so you can get to know me better. It all started a long time ago…

In west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days…

Oh wait, that the Fresh Prince of Bellaire ; )

*I* was born in Canoga Park, CA and started with event planning in 2001 when my son was born. I had helped a friend who owned a flower shop for a while and realized that I had gathered an extensive list of event professionals. Friends and family would come to me to find out who could help them with catering and flowers, if I knew someone who could officiate their wedding or if I knew of the perfect event location.   Being the type of person I am, not only would I give them the contact information for all the above but I would give them ideas, tips and money-saving tricks for their events. It soon evolved into being the coordinator for my friends and family parties.

I had done events for a while off and on when I became pregnant with my fourth child in 2006 and I remember telling my mom that I wanted something to do just get me out of the house so I didn’t go crazy! So, for my birthday she bought me Wilton cake classes at the local craft store. It was only a few minutes into the first class that I knew I would LOVE decorating cakes and that I had a knack for it. The frosting and cake reminded me how much fun art used to be for me. I went to a high school with a focus on the arts and majored in painting and sculpting.

I started doing cakes out of my home for friends and family along with party planning and then one day I got a phone call from someone I did not know who wanted to order a cake! What? They had heard of me from a friend and saw one of my cakes online. I was flattered and amazed, it was the first time my hobby made me money and started me in the direction of a real business!

After doing cakes for a while from home I learned that I was breaking the law, in Arizona then you were only allowed to sell your baked products if they were made in a commercial kitchen. I was devastated, I had no idea what to do. I reached out to friends and family for advice, I thought about opening up my own bakery but with one afternoon creating a profit and loss I realized that I didn’t have the money or the time for that. I was thinking about closing up my at home shop when my aunt told me about a shared kitchen she uses in Georgia.

I quickly looked in it and thought it was the most amazing thing EVER! Low rental cost, only pay for the time you need and you become a legal business. I immediately began my search for one in Arizona and my excitement quickly turned sour. There was only one shared kitchen I could find to rent and it was difficult to get into and the upfront cost was high. Feeling extremely discouraged I went back to the drawing boards, redid numbers for my bakery concept and had an idea…what if I opened a shared kitchen?! I ran with the idea, participated in Start Up weekend with my concept and after a lot of hard work I eventually opened it! I was very proud and loved the daily challenges however I quickly realized that my business partner and I were not a good fit, I missed making cakes (I didn’t have time to anymore) and my hours were taking a toll on my family. I decided to sell my half of the business only 1 year after opening.

At first I was upset and felt like a failure. I became depressed and wanted NOTHING to do with the food industry or anything closely related to it. Then one day I was talking to my husband about how I felt and he asked me, “Out of everything you have done, what gave you the most JOY?” and at that moment I knew I needed to start planning parties again. This time not as a hobby but as my business!

Simply Party Box, Inc. has made several changes since that first day in 2014 I know that I have found my passion. I LOVE making a life moment, (birthday, baby shower , wedding… ) perfect for my clients. I love knowing that I can take the ideas they have and make them a reality and that I can do it eliminating their stress so they can ENJOY the party too!

I also LOVE that the Arizona law has changed and I can now make cakes for my clients out of my home. And because I run my business from home I can spend more time with my family.

I am so very grateful for all the lessons the journey has taught me so far and for those lessons yet to come. I cannot even begin to express my thanks to all the people who have helped me along the way and continue to, I love you all!

Here’s to many more years of growth, gratitude and doing what I LOVE! Cheers!

~Cheyenne

Nothing to do with Parties or cakes…

OK, I know this post has nothing to do with party planning or cakes but I searched Pinterest like CRAZY looking for ideas on how to hide my projector screen and couldn’t find anything I thought would work, so this is what I came up with and thought I would share.

In our old house we had a designated theater room and when we moved into this house we lost that extra space so we put our projector in the family room. It had been sitting on the wall like an eye sore for far too long and we decided it was time we fixed it.

We considered selling it and purchasing a retractable screen but the cost was just too high. We thought about just covering it with curtains but I thought that was too boring. So, we made it a “window”! We used an outdoor bamboo screen ($30) and hung it over the center. It almost covers the whole screen but there were still about 10 inches on either side that showed. So, we added a long curtain rod ($20) and I used canvas drop clothes (15 x 9 foot cut in half to make two 7.5 x 9 foot) as curtains.($30) The project cost under $100 and only took my hubby about an hour to install.

Now when the screen is not in use it looks like this:

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And when we are ready to watch a movie or play life sized video games it looks like this:

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I hope someone out there finds this useful! The fake window could be used to hide several different types of design eye sores I am sure : )

Love, Cheyenne

“The cobbler’s wife wears no shoes”

I am sure you have all heard the term before, “the cobbler’s wife wears no shoes.” Well, the same rings true most of the time for this party planner’s kids…. They still get parties but they aren’t planned in as much detail. I am sure there are other planners out there who go all out for their kids and I do for some parties but with birthdays back to back over the summer I sometimes scramble things together last minute. This post is about making the most out of last minute party planning.

The first party was my now 10 yr olds slumber party. I went the night before to Target and picked up snacks, plates, and a few decorations. Target is one of my favorite go to places for coordinated non-character themed party supplies like the rainbow colored ones I picked out.

The party timeline included mall, dinner, movies and them home for cake and ice cream. The next morning included lots of swimming until everyone was picked up!

Here are a few pictures of what I put together:

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The next party is only 2 weeks later and it was for my now 8yr old. She wanted a glam safari, which can be hard last minute. I headed to a local craft store for a good chunk of items and then to the dollar store for the favors. I was going to make a cake but saved the stress and just bought one from the local grocery store. It is her favorite, chocolate on chocolate.

Although, this party is no where near what I would have planned if I had focused on it an planned well in advance like I do for my clients parties it did end up putting a smile on my youngest daughters face.

Here are photos of her party:

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All said and done, I think these parties were a success and my girls had a great time, and that is what really matters : )

Nautical 75th Birthday

The Nautical 75th Birthday Party I put together last month was one of the most fun! Living in Arizona we don’t get to see a whole lot of nautical or beachy things regularly, making this party fun and challenging!

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This was a full service event for 30 guests and included:

Catering service coordination

Furniture/ room layout

Rental equipment coordination

Room decorations

Centerpieces, linens and table setting

Party favors

Guestbook

Beverage center coordination

Upon the first meeting with my clients I did a walk through of the space and we determined how many tables and chairs would fit to accommodate guests and what furniture needed to be moved or removed from the party location. We also narrowed down the catering menu and decoration details.

Although, it was a nautical theme finding fresh fish in AZ is difficult so my client and I decided to go with BBQ instead. We catered the meal, buffet style with Famous Dave’s. The food was delicious and the customer service was exceptional!

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For the food table I set up a sailboat centerpiece on navy linens with fish net.

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For the beverage station I ordered the most adorable anchor paper straws and used a boat shelf and one of my drink dispensers to serve lemonade. My customer also provided guests with wine, beer, and soda, which we displayed in large grey buckets filled with ice.

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Each table was covered in navy linens, fish net, sea shells and glass vases. I used rope and a candle in the glass vases to add to the nautical theme. I also placed the napkins and disposable silverware at each place so the guests didn’t have to carry more than a plate when they got their food.

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The napkins and silverware might be one of my favorite details, each set of silverware was tied with white rope. Simple and nautical!

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For the favor table my client chose to give saltwater taffy to guests. I ordered rugby stripped favor bags and used gold ink to stamp little sailboats on each one. My client had a collection of seashells that they had acquired from many travels and we displayed them on this table too!

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As a guest book I purchased a lifesaver from a local pool supply company and some navy oil sharpies. I wish I would have remembered to get a picture of the finished product to show you but I think you get the idea. The lifesaver is hung on a wire wreath stand from a local craft store’s floral department.

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My customer chose to purchase a cake from another company and I created a special cake table for it and included my lanterns as decoration.

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I made a “Happy 75th Birthday” banner and hung it over the fire place and paper pendant flags that I hung over the entire room. Although it is hard to see the detail of the paper flags, they were my favorite decoration that really took the décor over the top!

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I feel like this party was a success, even if I haven’t been on a boat for a really long time!

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Happy 75th Birthday Dave!

Simply Wine Tasting

Along with all the events I did for others in the month of May I also decided to host a wine tasting party for my Wine Club with a Reading Problem (aka book club)

I wanted it to be simple and elegant but not fussy. At first I thought that everyone could fit around my large farm table but quickly realized that it would be just to tight, so I used my 8 ft folding table as well. The only problem was that the table was narrower than my farm table and it doesn’t have a pretty wood top. Then I remembered that I still have burlap left over from the Hobbit’s Party I did early last year.

I wanted it to feel fresh so I used all white plates and had a white dump bucket, which I filled with white flowers.

I set the pairings of meats and cheeses out on long platters and used blue and white placemats for a makeshift table runner.

Every place setting had a plate, napkin, fork and knife, wine glass and water glass.

I had hired someone to come in with a selection of wine and teach us about them and although he fell short on personality and the wines were only “ok” we still had a wonderful time experiencing it together with LOTS of laughter afterwards!

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Oh what fun it is to turn 30 and to have a PARTY!

Last week I had the honor of hosting my little sisters 30th birthday party, along with my mom! The theme was Glam Karaoke and it sure was all that and more!

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Balloons with the bottoms painted gold!

This party was the first one I have thrown in my new house and it was fun figuring out the layout that would work best.   I always start by cleaning my house 2 days before, moving the furniture the day before and then just spot cleaning before the decorations go up, this time I moved furniture a few times as I was trying to figure it out. BIG thanks to my son who helped me with the heavy lifting!

Oh wait! I forgot to mention that it was also a COSTUME party!! Everyone had to come dressed up as a musician!

This is (in orderleft to right) my brother-in-law, my dad, my hubby and a dear friend! They were AWESOME!

This is (in orderleft to right) my brother-in-law, my dad, my hubby and a dear friend! They were AWESOME!

Here is a breakdown of the party details:

Event theme: Glam Karaoke

Event location: My house : )

Number of Guests: 30

Color scheme: Black, gold and silver

Food: Salsa Bar (YUM!)

Drinks: Water provided and BYOB

Dessert: Cupcakes made by yours truly!

Entertainment: A karaoke machine and a photo booth!

To start, my mom and I decided to have several salsas to choose from. My mom made two, my sisters Mother-In-Law made one (YUM!) and then we bought three more, which were chosen by a FB poll of my friends. My mom also got 10 bags of chips from a local restaurant.

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I decorated the table with a black cloth, gold runner, gold napkins, silver plates and then a backdrop made from a giant balloon “30” and “stage” curtains in silver.

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The cupcakes were laid out to be a big “30” on my round table draped with a black tablecloth and a “Happy Birthday” banner.

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The karaoke room was my living room and I set up my projector and the equipment in front of my entertainment center. My mom had gathered pictures of my sister over the last 30 years and we taped them to the wall in a big “30”

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Finally the photo booth was set up in the front room where I moved all the furniture, except for my piano, used metallic door curtains to hang on the wall. My sis and her hubby set up their laptop and camera and used a photo booth app to take the photos with.

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For the photo booth props I was having a hard time finding gold and silver ones that I liked that were in our budget so I bought generic colorful ones from the local craft store and used glitter and Mod Podge to glam them up!

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The event was BLAST and it was so great seeing everyone dress up!

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Me and my hubby, aka Lenny and Katy (Super Bowl 2015)

Happy Birthday Sis!!! We love you!!