♥ a teen-y party ♥

ohhh, where to begin…

let me start a few months back. i had explained to kiana for months previous to her birthday, that we were simplifying everything this year – meaning: honey, you’re old enough that we can downsize with your birthday party. and, being the mature young woman that she is, she was totally content with that. she didn’t expect anything.

then, about a month ago, i told her:
ok, we will plan a fun afternoon with some of your besties. and that’s it.

and, she was ecstatic. couldn’t wait!

we made these invitations, she delivered them to eight friends & the plan was dinner & a movie. If you’re throwing a party you need to check out these party photo booth rentals from Austin’s Best DJs and no party is complete without cool drinks, I’ve heard that a friend looked into services that IceCoolTrailers (https://www.icecooltrailers.co.uk/freezer-trailer-hire) offers and they have a great range of portable freezers and fridges for food and drinks for parties.

the closer it got to the party, we didn’t have a movie that was a great pick for the whole group, so we decided to eat at sammy’s, and then go to the new provo beach resort for a few hours. then head back to our house for cake etc. and, of course, i would deck the house with cute decorations. because, after all, i am a party-loving-momma who couldn’t resist some good party decor.

the girls all met at our house & the fun afternoon began—
{and i resisted my urges to wardrobe the entire party…i only chose half of kiana’s outfit. wink!}

then, after a very delicious late lunch, and fun times at the provo beach resort…

we all headed back home {in the snow storm} to have cake, open presents, and all the party essentials— just a note: i love it when it snows and we are hosting a party. it is a charming contrast to the warm celebration.


before we go on, let me divulge…

kiana had no idea that i’ve been undercover to plan a little surprise. a little surprise that was definitely not simplifying…because, after all, my girl was becoming a teenager this year! {think Bar mitzvah – utah style!} we had reason to celebrate! i had about ten secret agents {most of her closest friends} who i was in touch with via texts, facebook messages, phone calls, etc., and they were helping me plan this little secret…

my secret agents were so successful. each had 10-30 business-card size invites that were the same design as the one we used on her real invitations, but these other invites started with, “shhh…it’s a surprise,” and had other details to follow… these were handed out one day before the party around the neighborhood, at school, dance – one secret agent said she almost got caught! they were at school & kiana saw her handing something out & casually asked, “hey! what’s that? and my agent was like, “oh. it’s a science card…” science card??? good work, milan girl!

the details included meeting at our house, no later than 7pm – for a big surprise bash.

here’s a glimpse at a few of those unexpected {50+!!!} guests…
this photo was taken literally seconds before kiana walked in –

fyi: at this moment, i was in a complete state of excite/panic, my heart was beating a thousands beats a second – i actually locked her out of the house because we weren’t quite ready, she was pounding on the door {that is never locked via the garage}

this is the first-surprise-party i have ever planned or tried to execute.

my heart, that was about to explode, did a skip at that moment…the one where {kiana,} the guest of honor walks in and everyone yelled “Surprise!!!

…and her hand grasped her gaping mouth as she ran to hug as many bodies as she could.

or, in her case…she ran to her besties for them to absorb her shock.

oh. that was a good moment. concentrated happiness.

see for yourself—

we sang happy birthday, she blew-out thir< em>teen candles, and the entire party moved down to our basement — to where a fun evening {also part of the surprise} awaited…


DIY sequin banners.

i had the vision for these banners, and asked tregan to help me make them a reality –

we used spools of sequins for the actual banner string, then cut random shapes of rectangles + tied tulle around the sequined rope in knots—

tregan came through & they had the perfect sequinny-glitzzy feel i was hoping for…

the highlight of the evening was most definitely the mock*tails bar. we hired a friend to be the bartender, and he whipped up shirley temples {topped with cotton candy} + virgin pina coladas + virgin strawberry daiquiri’s. i also had a water bar, to keep everyone hydrated between all the karaoke, and ‘just dance’ that was going on! to keep costs down, i purchased all of the mock*tails glasses at a local dollar store.

just before the party started, i had the thought that the drinks could easily get mixed-up all night if they were set on the table…with 50+ guests. so, i decided everyone could design their own paper coasters to keep their drinks on. the guests seemed to love it – and the drinks were organized all evening. ta-da!

in the middle of the party, or mob of celebrating, i was sitting right in the middle of the brilliant chaos. mock*tails, 15 pizzas, 3 cakes devoured, there were at least 25 teens rockin’ out to abba on karaoke. others were playing billiards, air hockey, arcade games, polaroid cameras were snapping pictures. i was taking a moment to chill and soak in everything that was going on.

and, ten seconds later i was fighting tears. no surprise here – my emotional soul.

i don’t wear my spirituality on my sleeve so to speak, but it’s deep down inside. and my blog is not the place for the details, except to say that if there is a god – and if i could have him hear and feel my gratitude. i hope he did at that moment.

because for what ever reason that i am worthy of so much good. for what ever reason i am blessed with this daughter who is full of life and love, she is one answer to my lonely soul that longs for more family. i was given her. and three other children that i can’t explain my enormous love for, and a husband… you get where i’m going…

my heart and mind can not fathom the answers.

but, i am grateful. fiercely grateful.

and… the party continued on — with me wiping those happy tears away. and singing, “don’t go wasting your emotion…lay all your love on me!!!” the karaoke was vivacious!

at almost-midnight, and the party was coming to a close:
our chalkboard wall was covered with love, a collage of greetings for miss thirteen— now if i were to plan this all again there would be very very few things i would change about it. the only 2 things i could think of is that i would hand the surprise invites a little sooner because some people weren’t able to come and i would also use something like Peerspace to find a party venue because we needed a bit more room.

and, a close-up of the adorable party favors. my friend ann made these bows. each guest could choose from a paper clip {book mark}, pin, or hair clip. or chocolates. they were a huge hit -check out ann’s shop here. she is a talented genius with felt, and when i’m perusing her shop – i really wish money grew on trees.

{i had a really hard time parting with these, i easily could have kept them all!}

{all photos by me}

there it is. a teen-y party, with a big surprise! ???

thank you to everyone who participated in any way. the planning + my secret agents + all those teenagers who kept my secret {so impressive!} + husband {who is the ultimate teen party host!} + my nannies who i adore + the bartender + bex + the howell boys. thank you, thank you, thank you.


the party details: white martha stewart garland here, papel picado banners here, gold/silver streamers on clearance at pier 1 imports {.48 cents! run, don’t walk – to your local store!}, silver cake stands & silver serving tray also on clearance at pier 1 imports, grey/bronze/cream tassel garland – confetti systems here – plan to spend some time browsing that site…it’s a-MAZ-ing – i also used their garlands for kiana’s party last year, silver happy birthday sign from local old navy, grey/white striped straws here, gold/peach cake from ‘pink peach cakes’ {looove her -she also did my birthday cake, seen here and here}, two white cakes – kitty katrina’s {kiana’s fav-or-ite cake} from ‘the chocolate’ bakery here. all little stripey signs designed & framed by me.


p.s. i have a teenager! and, i will admit, strangely, i don’t feel old at all. i feel very very proud.

p.s.s. we really will downsize & simplify her party, next year… {wink.}

20 responses to “♥ a teen-y party ♥”

  1. holy COW i love you!!
    may i say, you are a FANTASTIC decorator. my sister {malia} attended this grand surprise party and she was DYING! calling me every minute or 2 telling me something cool in your home! i loved it. love your posts so much! love keena XOXO

  2. oh jane! it simply is amazing. there was so much thought and love put in to this, everything you do is amazing. the pictures don't do justice to your amazing decorations:-) kiana is incredible but of course when she has parents like you and dusty. loves, muah.

  3. what a beautiful, well-done party you threw for your daughter 🙂 glad everything turned out great! i spy the grey kikkerland straws! awesome!! -justine (www.urbanscarlet.com)

  4. Yeowza!!!! Such a fabulous absolutely perfect party!!! You are the Queen party planner!! Love the pics, decorations, THE CAKE (gorgeous) and especially the bar tender, that is so cool!
    Was t.hat my cute little shae in the pics?

    Happy birthday to kana bear! Love that teenage girl, who has thee coolest parents ever!

  5. I have been waiting for this post…seriously checking like every 5 min hahah. I knew it would be nothing short of AMAZING…and that indeed it was! Everything is perfection. From the great surprise to the decorations, to well…just you being you! You always AMAZE…always 🙂

  6. Oh my gosh! That looks like every 13 year old girls dream! I love all of your ideas, you are such a good mom!

  7. So much fun… i think i loved it more than the kids. The best thing about it is getting to know/having fun with the kids that our kids socialize with.
    Spoiled little fart!!
    Good job my party genie in a bottle!!

  8. You are such a fun Mom! Amazing, so amazing. I can't believe she's 13, Happy Birthday Kiana!

  9. Jane! You are the best.mom.ever! What an unbelievably thoughtful surprise. You daughter will likely NEVER forget it. Of course I'm totally loving the confetti system decor, that amazing cake, and those adorable favors. Great, great job.

  10. what a great party!
    you always do a suburb job!
    i'm sure your teen was in heaven!

    can't wait to see you tomorrow!

  11. Jane, I saw the link to this post on facebook…and what a beautiful party! The decorations, the surprise, the gorgeous cake, the mocktails, the karaoke…what fun! Congrats on your celebrating your lovely daughter!

    Hope you have the best of days!

  12. i have no words. seriously!?! amazing. what a fun hip mom you are. loved all the details and the fact that it was all a surprise. what an event to remember!!

  13. Love, Love, Love everything about this birthday party!!! You are incredible Jane. I feel so lucky to have a friend as talented as you! xoxoxo

  14. You really are a spectacular party Mama! I seriously think that you need to launch yourself as a party planner for hire. I loved all the decorations, the theme, the colors. Perfecto!

  15. janey jane…yours is pretty much the only mommy blog i read and it's because for you it's not about being the coolest mom or the best partier thrower on the block-it's about how your love for your family is your passion and that shows in every single post. Kiana is a lucky kid to have a mom who simply can't keep her love locked up. I adore you. (and want you to plan my kid's parties someday!)

    • OK…i need to be invited to your next bday! i am in LOVE with that cake! who made it or where did you get it? i’ve seen an LV ccpuake party but that is the greatest cake ever! can’t wait for more pics!!!

  16. Wow! That is one for the books. And a party she will soon not forget. What a good, loving mama you are. Happy Birthday Kiana!

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