The Ultimate 1st Birthday Party Planning Guide

Unless you’re a party planner by trade or natural inclination, preparing for your baby’s 1st Birthday Party can be a bit stressful: Where do I start? What theme to choose? Who to invite? To buy or DIY decorations? How much money do I really need to spend on a party the baby won’t remember? What exactly is a “smash cake” anyway?

I have been determined NOT to get stressed out over planning Taylor’s birthday party, because Lord knows I already have enough emotions going on with the winding down of our nursing relationship, seeing her basically turn into a kid right before my eyes, etc. to add stress to the emotional mix. If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that the only way I get anything accomplished (without losing my mind to stress) is through some kind over over-analyzed organizational system (but that’s kinda why you like me, right?).

True to form, that’s exactly how I’ve tackled planning Taylor’s birthday party and it’s been smooth sailing thus far. T Minus two weeks until the big day! I wanted to share the following with you in the hopes that it will help your own party planning process go smoothly.

  1. A 1st Birthday Party planning checklist
  2. Unique 1st Birthday Party themes
  3. Perfect Gift Ideas for a 1 Year Old

1st Birthday Party Planning Checklist:

This checklist has helped keep me organized and able to ENJOY the process of planning such a milestone event for Taylor:

Access the printable PDF version HERE.

Creative 1st Birthday Party Theme Ideas:

These theme ideas were crowdsourced from my AMAZING Instagram family in this original post. Some words of advice that I found really helpful were to pick a color palette and theme early on, and then to focus on a few key pieces and decor to bring your theme to life. My favorite idea is definitely the last one on the list, from The Mamaste Blog. I actually ended up coming up with a theme that isn’t included on the list below…I can’t wait to reveal what we picked!

Access the printable PDF version HERE.

The Best Gifts for a 1 Year Old (Girl or Boy!)

These are gifts I’ve either purchased in recent months, or are on our current wish list for Taylor’s 1st Birthday! Some are toys while others serve as creative play spaces for little ones. Many of the linked items are Amazon Prime eligible (free 1-2 day shipping and free returns, among other perks!), so if you don’t already have a Prime membership, sign up for an Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial here.

  1. Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle (option for pastel or primary colored lettering)
  2. Something to ride like the classic Little Tikes Cozy Coup (red or pink), The Step2 Easy Steer Sportster, or a splurge on this motorized Land Rover
  3. Little Tikes Trampoline
  4. Happy Birthday Baby  or Baby Touch & Feel: Happy Birthday board books
  5. Pop Up Play Tunnel
  6. Crayola Wonder Color Drawing Paper (mess free coloring!)
  7. Hape Pound and Tap Bench with Xylophone
  8. Fisher Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm
  9. Manhattan Nurturing First Baby Doll and accessories: Stroller, Feeding Set and Changing Set. I got a brown-haired Stella doll for Taylor that giggles and says, “mama”!
  10. Water Table like this one (best seller and available on Amazon Prime) or this one with an umbrella, but my personal favorite is this one (pictured above).
  11. Land of Nod Tee Pee and cushion
  12. Fisher Price Corn Popper
  13. Playroom table and chairs set
  14. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorter
  15. Mega Blocks or Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks
  16. Ball Pit (this inflatable pool) and Balls (100 count, so I would by a couple sets). You could even add a slide for extra fun!!

I hope this planning guide is helpful to you or a mama you know (please do share!).

Is there anything I left off the party planning checklist? What about other gift ideas for a 1 year old? I would love to know what you are planning to choose or what you did choose for your child’s first birthday theme. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

xo, Ashley (1)
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First Valentine’s Day Gifts for Baby (and a few for Mama!)

One of the most exciting things about a baby’s first year is celebrating all of their first holidays. Pre-Taylor I was honestly not super into holidays (I know, such a Scrooge) but I have really enjoyed doing special things for each one this year, even though she is too young to remember. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so I’ve been perusing the internet looking for a couple of special gifts to give her. I searched for non-tacky, V-Day appropriate gifts that could be could be enjoyed year round and think I found some winners. As often happens when I’m web surfing, I also found several things I wouldn’t mind receiving on Valentine’s Day myself – or gifting to myself! I’d say as new moms we’ve earned to treat ourselves on a totally commercial holiday, right? Plus, between now and 1/31/17 you can save 15% off ILY Couture’s Valentine’s Day Collection using the Promo Code: HEARTILY. Their clothing is great quality and super cute on ; I’m thinking the “Be Mine” tops Mommy & Me twinning may have to happen this year….

Here are 10 Valentine’s day gift ideas for your Littlest Valentine AND a few that you may just want to pick up for yourself (or hint/pass along to your Big Valentine to get for you!).

For Baby

  1. DIY Family Handprint  framed
  2. Bashful Poodle stuffed animal- Jellycat
  3. Valentine’s Day Board book like: Huggy Kissy, Llama Llama I Love You, Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse, or Love From The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  4. Wooden Heart Teether – this one can definitely be used year round!
  5. Blush & Red Bibdanas – on sale right now too!
  6. Snuggly Pajamas – Red or Pink (why, oh why, don’t they have these in my size?)
  7. Pink Converse Allstars – Chuck Taylor
  8. Teething Jewelry – Mama & Little   – {save 10% at checkout with Discount Code: TAYLORMADE}
  9. “Be Mine” onesie or tee -ILY Couture
  10. Heart Taggie Blanket – DIY by www.lovecreatecelebrate.com

For Mama 

  1. “Be Mine” Top (because I can’t resist a good twinning opportunity) – ILY Couture
  2. Blush Zip Around Wallet – Marc by Marc Jacobs
  3. Perfume –  J’adore by Dior (smells AMAZING)
  4. Rosé Candle – Voluspa
  5. Gift card for massage – Spafinder via Amazon.com
  6. Comfy Robe -Barefoot Dreams

There you have a list of fun gifts for your baby’s first Valentine’s Day, and some things you may want to gift yourself. I still haven’t decided which to get for Taylor – which do you think is the best option? What was your favorite 1st holiday to celebrate with your baby?

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xo, Ashley (1)

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Baby Girl’s First Christmas Gift Guide

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All the opinions are 100% mine. If you use a link to purchase an item you like too, thank you!

A baby’s first Christmas is such a special time and even though they won’t remember it, you will treasure the memories for the rest of your life. Picking out a few special gifts (and giving Grandparents the opportunity to spoil your babe with all the rest) is just one of the wonderful traditions of Christmas, like picking out the perfect 1st Christmas dress or starting an Advent calendar countdown as a family.  For Taylor’s first Christmas (she’ll be 8.5 months) I wanted to get her a few practical stocking stuffers, a couple toys she can enjoy right away, a few that she’ll grow into in the next several months and one special/sentimental gift she’ll appreciate at some point later. This gift guide includes gifts I have purchased for Taylor, gift suggestions I’ve given to her grandparents, and a few extra ideas I think would be extra special for your little darling’s first holiday. I’m hoping you find some last minute baby girl gift inspiration for your or a friend’s sweet baby girl.

P.S. If you still have some shopping to do for your hubs (or brother, BroFF, etc.), check out my Holiday Gift Guide For Him.

  1. Winter sweater
  2. Converse Allstars – I asked my hubby to get me an adult pair – twinning for the win!
  3. Musical instrument set 
  4. 14K Gold bangle – this is super special gift that can be passed down from generation to generation. There is a less expensive version here.
  5. Alphabet puzzle 
  6. Animal rocker 
  7. Activity cube
  8. Bonds Wondersuits – seriously, I cannot get enough of these for Taylor – she lives in them and has since she was born. Read more about my obsession in this post, and stock up for your babe because they’re 2 for $39 right now.
  9. Personalized arm chair – I love this one because we found a cover color that’s an exact match to our living room sofa.
  10. Wooden baby key set – perfect stocking stuffer!
  11. Bucket of blocks 
  12. Wooden Tooth teether – another aptly sized, and practical stocking stuffer
  13. Baby iPhone – I “accidentally” already gave this to Taylor, and she is LOVING it.
  14. Freshly Picked Moccasins – I bought the style, “Pin the Petal,” but they have a million other cute colors/patterns to choose from. I love that these will have her little footprints embedded in the leather forever!
  15. Christmas Pajamas – we actually have a whole family set of these which you can check out in this post. Right now you can get up to 40% off, while supplies last. Valid 11/7-12/25.
  16. Rainbow stacking tower – or the classic version here!
  17. The Wonderful Things You Will Be – this sweet book has the most beautiful illustrations.
  18. 1st Christmas ornament by Kate Spade

Happy shopping, mama!


Join The Party! Save 25% On Sleighloads of Sleepwear at Hanna Andersson. Valid 11/7-12/25. 300x350

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Holiday Gift Guide – For Him

Introducing the NEW Exfoliating Peel Spray

gift-ideas-for-him

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. All recommendations are mine (w/ input from a few men in my life!)

I didn’t discover “gift guides” until recently via Pinterest, and sure could have used them in years past – especially when it came to shopping for my hubby/men in my life!  To create my holiday ‘Gift Guide For Him’, I polled my husband, and solicited suggestions from my friends’ husbands, all who have great taste; You’re sure to find a gift or two from this list that you’ll feel excited to give to the men in your life!

1. Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker // 2. Anthony shave lotion // 3. Wooden phone case // 4. Fitbit (on sale now) // 5. Cocktail Shaker (on sale now) // 6. Billfold (less expensive version here) // 7. Beard oil // 8. Leather toiletry kit // 9. Daddy & Me Converse AllStars // 10. ILY Couture Watch // 11.Herringbone Cuff links // 12. Backpack (Daddy diaper bag) // 13.“Dad” Graphic t-shirt // 14. ILY Couture “Mr. Santa” Mug // 15. Timberland Boots (less expensive version here) 16. Metal collar stays // 17.Wireless in-ear sport headphones // 18. Travel mug (on sale, and 9 colors to choose from) // 19. Watch case (only $12.99) // 20. Beardsman’s Kit  

Have you found any gifts for the men in your family? I’d love to know – I have a few more to shop for this season. Hopefully you’ll snag a few items from this list to spoil your guy!

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. Thanksgiving is next week! If you need some recipe/meal plan inspiration check out this post and download the free meal planner! Annnnnnd, if you don’t already have a super cheesy cute set of matching family pajamas, check out these from Hanna Andersson – I literally cannot wait to wear ours!

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