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Summer Party

HOSTING A SUMMER BIRTHDAY SOIREE

By Jessica Wright, Photography by Sweet Dreams Studio

Summer can be one of the best seasons to throw a memorable and fun birthday party for your little one. We recently celebrated my daughter turning four with an “Oh La Llama” celebration. It had all the vibes to inspire a summer gathering and with it, I will share some tips for throwing a successful bash as things start to warm up outside.

Pick A Theme

For some, selecting a theme can be one of the best parts of party planning. Whether it be unicorns or pirates or maybe even simply your child’s favourite colour, remember you don’t have to go over the top in ensuring the theme is represented in every party aspect. Rather a couple subtle and simple elements can go a long way. For example, I often choose plain serving ware with white tablecloths, then add themed napkins and tablescapes into the mix.

There are many easy DIYs that can take your party to the next level. Take my mini jars filled with artificial succulents and “sand”. Or rather brown sugar…the perfect sand alternative. Similarly, effective decorative aspects can be made using simple materials from the dollar store. I created a “fringe” backdrop by cutting folded tissue paper and strung pastels balloons together with clear wire to create a photo wall backdrop.

Finally, ditch the goody bag and send partygoers home with something they may actually use. How cute are the personalized accessories from Plum Polka Dot? These can be used as either bracelets or hairs ties and are sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike, while also matching your theme.

Choose Location & Activity

Since many Vancouverites live in small spaces, hosting a number of kids at one’s home just isn’t possible. While summer provides the perfect opportunity to host an outdoor park or beach birthday, our unpredictable weather can deter one from choosing that option. That being said, there are a number of unique local alternatives that young attendees will sure enjoy.

Some of my favourite venues include Maplewood Farm, Bittersweet Kitchen and the Vancouver Performing Stars studio, where we held my daughters last party. Whether your child is an animal lover, a future baker or a dance addict, each one provides a fun activity and great party space.

Keep the Spread Simple

Let’s be honest, kids are all about the cupcakes and birthday cake when they show up to a party. So don’t stress out on what food should be served. Keep it straightforward, with an array of fruits, veggies and a few salty options. These can pair well with mini croissants or a selection of kid friendly sandwiches. Of course, barbequed meat or pulled pork sandwiches are a great option come summer, depending on the party’s location.

Sweets, Sweets and More Sweets 

We all know it is the delicious sweet treats that make birthdays so special. Dessert tables and candy bars continue to be on trend for kid’s parties. Mini confections are displayed so guests can sample an array of goodies. In many cases, treats can match the theme and are best done in neutral tones, such as creams or pastels.

Keep in mind anything on a stick is always a hit. Whether it is chocolate dipped marshmallows, fruit kabobs or sugar cookies baked on a stick, kids are drawn to anything that they can hold and easily enjoy. How cute did the cactus cookies from my daughter’s party turn out? Let’s just say they did not last for long!

So if you are hosting a birthday, a barbeque or pool party this summer, keep in mind, the best ones are those with celebrated with friends and family. Though a few of these party elements are sure to be enjoyed!


About Jessica

Jessica is an educator and mother of two living in Vancouver who shares her life and passions on her blog “This Sweet Happy Life”. She started blogging to focus on what brings her true joy, which is her family, celebrating occasions, decorating spaces and educating not only kids, but, parents alike.

Instagram: @thissweethappylife

Website: http://thissweethappylife.com

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Father’s Day DIY Gift Idea

Father’s Day is coming and here’s a great DIY gift idea for all the fathers out in the world: make your Dad a special, personalized Gummy “Beer”!

How to make it:

  1. Print the label from the below
  2. Find an empty beer bottle and rinse and dry it (or substitute with any soda bottle)
  3. Fill the bottle with his favorite treats
  4. Cut a label from below and apply glue to the back
  5. Cover the bottle label with the fun Father’s Day label
  6. Wait for Dad’s smile and give him a big hug!

Your DIY Father’s Day gift is done!

Download the PDF below for the bottle labels for the Father’s Day gift:

VKFW Father’s Day DIY Print

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Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

Takashi Murakami
Photo: Maria Ponce Berre, © MCA Chicago

The Vancouver Art Gallery has successfully launched its spring season with one of its most monumental exhibits to date. Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, opened for public view last February 3, 2018 and will run until May 6, 2018. The exhibit’s eventful opening, in time for his birthday, featured a media preview, a birthday bash for the artist and a Murakami-themed dinner hosted by Shangri-La’s Market by Jean Georges. Local and international medias along with patrons and followers of his work celebrated at the gallery with Murakami himself, and luckily, we were invited to join the momentous event.

Takashi Murakami is best known for his unconventional artistic style which he coined “superflat”. It is described as both the aesthetic characteristics of the Japanese artistic tradition and the nature of post-war Japanese culture and society. Aside from his influential works in fine arts media, the Japanese contemporary designer is also known in the fashion industry for his collaborations with international brands like Louis Vuitton, Vans, Shu Uemura, Issey Miyake, and most recently, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh and London’s Gagosian Gallery, as well as his collaborations with musicians like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams. His involvement in other aspects of the creative industry also extends to animation, which is where his early career started.

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg featured over 55 artworks that highlighted the evolution of his works from the 1980’s to the present, including his recent large scale creations — a five-meter tall sculpture and two multi-panel paintings.

For Murakami, connecting with his audience and allowing his artwork to be accessible to the general public are integral aspects of what he stands for as an artist. Murakami has created a new major public art project featuring a skull surrounded by octopus tentacles which will cover the Gallery’s Georgia Street façade, extending the exhibition outside the traditional confines of the Gallery space. The exhibition opens with Murakami’s early paintings from the 1980s that synthesize traditional Nihonga-style painting techniques and formats with contemporary subject matter, and goes on to trace the artist’s shift in the 1990s toward a distinctive, anime-influenced style. From his signature animated flowers to the iconic character Mr. DOB, a mouse-like figure that serves as part ambassador and part self-portrait, the works in the show offer an in-depth look at Murakami’s unique Superflat universe. Additionally, the exhibition also features works from a recent body of paintings depicting groups of wizened Buddhist monks (Arhats), including the ten-panel 100 Arhats (2013), The Arhat works mark Murakami’s return to his training in traditional Japanese painting in order to find a response to the suffering caused by the massive earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan in 2011 that killed more than 15,000 people.

Needless to say, Murakami has already established himself and his company as an international household name both in Eastern and Western cultures, and has reshaped Japan’s contemporary art. Catch this and more of his incredible work at the Vancouver Art Gallery.