Latest Obsessions 09.20 – Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes

If you’ve been reading along, you may have seen my mom’s 60th birthday at the cabin in the woods! And one of my favorite parts that I still can’t stop obsessing over are the amazing cakes we ordered from our go-to local bakery; Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes also known as KEC. Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes is quickly becoming a household name in the CLE area, and it’s for a variety of reasons from her celebration of national holidays, like Harry Potter Day to having custom holiday menus and just a variety of delicious every day sweets available, you really can’t go wrong.

Let’s talk about her Party Cake Collection first. With a newly expanded collection of new party cake flavors — these are easy to order and fun to make a statement for any occasion. Whether you’re rocking a pink theme, in need of a smash cake or want something for a milestone birthday – these cakes are gorgeous and also allow you to add personal touches with birthday candles or a cake topper. Our go-to is the Reese party cake, it has layers of peanut butter and chocolate cake and a crispy crunchy peanut butter layer that is just so yummy. For my 30th we were able to get the Macaron Sprinkle (see below) aka a more delicious spin on funfetti cake, plus with KEC’s staple macaron’s on top. The next one we want to order is the Cookie Dough one, um YUM! Rule of thumb for ordering cakes from KEC, always try to plan at least a month out if not more — extra for busy seasons/holidays.

Next up is her Buttercream Cake Collection. This is another variety of cake designs that fit a number of special occasions and themes! We first tried her buttercream cake collection for our wedding — and we ordered a hand painted floral cake as B and I’s cut cake with a chocolate fudge flavor. Honestly it was so easy, because we picked the size, colors and example from one I saw on her instagram and then I got a special cake topper that personalized it more for our special day. The best part? We were able to order a mini recreation of our cake for our 1st anniversary! For my mom’s birthday we got the Retro Dot cake with a Vanilla Blackberry flavor. There are endless possibilities with the buttercream collection from colors to sizes and flavors!

Every other delicious treat. This is a loaded section, loaded of sweet, deliciousness. On top of making incredible cakes — KEC also offers a variety of cupcake and macaron flavors, cookie dough, cakesicles, cookies, and chocolate covered oreos. Getting a sleeve of macarons is always a nice party/hostess gift to bring for sampling with friends – or honestly just a date night at home – as you can get a box of 6 or 12! Another reason I like to go into the store to order my cakes is so I can grab a treat or two like a gigantic salted chocolate chip cookie or pick up the newest macaron flavors!

Holiday Menus. We recently took advantage and jumped on the train of ordering off last year’s Thanksgiving menu, and got an incredible spice cake (pictured below, in the middle) to bring home for the family! It was gorgeous, delicious and a fun piece to bring to our family feast. I unfortunately missed out on ordering off the Christmas menu — because you must order fast, as KEC only offers a limited number of orders for the holiday menus. I’m excited to see what she has to offer this year — one benefit of following her on social is getting the latest updates and info on when the menus are going to drop!

Ever since we got our wedding cake from Kelsey Elizabeth, it’s become a sentimental and go-to spot for special occasions and big birthdays — and also has me wanting and planning for our next cake, or another sweet treat! I mean you don’t always need a reason to order a delicious cake right?!

No Bake Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cup Recipe

Introducing the newest blog series: Baking with B! My hubby, B has been a rockstar during quarantine to find recipes that are not only easy, but dairy free and healthy-ish! His latest is also keto friendly and requires very little prep as it’s a no-bake recipe. These were a welcomed surprise and are so easy to whip together for a quick treat whether it’s just for two or a nice after dinner treat for an intimate dinner party. Check out the shopping list and super simple step-by-step instructions below, and try not to drool over these sweet treats!

Super easy shopping list and super easy to throw into a bowl, with minimum tools needed! But a few things to consider when you’re shopping; the last time we made this treat, I asked B to leave out the Stevia sweetener to see if there would be a difference, as I can taste the sweetness (and I’m not a huge fan!) – the taste difference wasn’t that drastic, so if you’re not a fan it’s worth leaving out. We also used virgin organic coconut oil, which holds a bit more of a coconut taste – again not bad in my opinion paired with chocolate, but something to note when you’re grabbing your coconut oil (i.e. organic vs. not).

Shopping List: (Makes about 6-peanut butter cups)
– 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
– 1.5 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
– 4 Tablespoons of Creamy Organic Peanut Butter
– 3-5 drops of liquid Stevia Sweetener (optional)
– Pecans (optional)
– Cupcake Liners

Step-by-Step Instructions:
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, pour all of your ingredients together into a bowl. Using organic peanut butter is key, since you’ll want this to be a liquid base substance, so if your peanut butter is thicker you may need to melt it!
2. Once your ingredients are mixed, get your cupcake liners prepped! We filled the bottom of each of the liners with pecans – which is optional of course. Then scoop equal parts throughout for your thickness, if you have any extra top off your cups!
3. Once you batter is all poured, place peanut butter cups into the freezer. Let freeze for a few hours before serving and enjoying. Store in freezer in between snacking!

So there you have it, a delicious, easy, dairy-free and keto friendly sweet treat! Here to help my Bee readers satisfy their sweet tooth, in new and easy ways — in case you missed it, check out this super easy and also dairy free cookie dough recipe!

Local Love – Mother’s Day Edition

Hey CLE Bees! If you’re in need of some last minute Mother’s Day gifts, I have a few local faves that are perfect, while offering limited human interaction and most importantly something sweet that mom will love — even if you’re racing against the clock! Psst. Just in case you forgot, Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10th.

Lovely Paperie & Gifts in Rocky River, Ohio. This is always one of my favorite go-to spots for a special card or gift — and Kate the owner has definitely adapted with times to make sure everyone can still gift the perfect gift with that Lovely Paperie touch anyone who frequents has come to know and love. Kate teamed up with a few other local vendors and created a number of Mother’s Day Gift Sets — she’s offering shipping, curbside pick-up and even local porch drop offs! We were able to ship and pick up to spoil our momma’s and it was so easy. Also, you can still shop online for all other occasions from cards, to gifts or even something for you — so be sure to check-out Lovely online for those birthday celebrations, anniversaries and other special occasions that always pop-up! Shop Lovely Here. LovelyPaperie_MothersDay
Images courtesy of Lovely Paperie & Gifts and Emily Millay Photography

Boundary & Thorn in Lakewood, Ohio. I’ve shared lots of love for B&T on the Bee Life and Lucy the owner and creator has the perfect Mother’s Day cards. She is also selling her inventory made easy thanks to her Instagram Stories you can shop directly on there and she is also offering porch pick-ups in Lakewood! Looking for something more than a card? Lucy also has beautiful letter prints, her Happiest Hour cocktail prints, Kitchen Punnies and botanical pieces, make sure to check out her Instagram and website to shop!
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Images courtesy of Boundary & Thorn

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream. I’ve been so excited to see some local favorites opening back up and offering online ordering and takeout items, especially Mitchell’s! This is the perfect way to surprise mom with an ice cream party at home, tote and all, while still being able to pick out all of mom’s favorite flavors. As long as you order by 4pm, you’ll be able to pick-up the very next day — so this is an easy fix if you haven’t been able to figure out a surprise for mom yet or are craving some homemade ice cream! Shop Mitchell’s Ice Cream here.
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Image credit: Mitchell’s Ice Cream

Mother’s Day Cupcake Bouquet by A Cookie & a Cupcake. This local bakery is offering another sweet surprise, that I also think would pair nicely with a card and ice cream – it’s a Mother’s Day half dozen cupcake bouquet. Flavors include red velvet, chocolate and vanilla — plus they’re beautifully decorated with floral designs and colors! These are just $21, available to order if you call-in and you can also order through Grubhub or UberEats! Weekly Cupcake Kits are also available for curbside pick-up or drop-off through select food delivery services and with different themes each week! Order and shop here.
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Images courtesy of A Cookie & A Cupcake

Although we may be social distancing and not spending Mother’s Day with our mom’s this year like we have in previous year’s there are so many awesome local shops that could use our support during this tough time, while still making Mom feel special and giving her a sweet treat for her special day! Happy Mother’s Day!

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Fancy Fiesta At Home Party Decor

We’ve been gearing up to celebrate and have our own fancy fiesta at home just in time for Cinco De Mayo! I’ve been sharing with you how we’ve been gearing up for our party at home dinner menu and drink recipes, including our favorite Taco Pizza to a new favorite, Strawberry Prosecco Margarita. Now it’s just time to set the table, add a little festive flair and get ready for a fun and fancy feast at home to celebrate Cinco De Mayo — which happens to fall on a Tuesday this year! #TacoTuesday
FancyFiesta(1)To create our own little fancy fiesta, I grabbed a few new dining pieces with a bohemian flair and will also be a new summer staple — these really inspired the rest of the pieces that I pulled together for our party decor.  These colorful and festive melamine dinner plates from the Opalhouse collection at Target were an instant swoon and must have. I also got these light pink Toucan salad plates to match and compliment the color pallet. To top it all off, these Monique Lhuillier Gabrielle Etched Champagne Coupes are an elegant touch with a tint of bohemian to sip those delicious prosecco margaritas! Using blue as my base color, I pulled in other bright colors like greens, pinks and yellows for a fun flair. And, to let the colors pull through, I used a fix of clear and white bowls for serving the chips, beverages, dipping sauces and limes — which also helped the food serve as it’s own decor piece in the tablescape.
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Now for the fun finishing touches! I couldn’t decide which garland I liked better, so I got both and then ended up using this Wooden Bead Garland from Opalhouse as a centerpiece — it was the perfect finishing touch. I then decided to use this bright tassel garland to hang over the windows in our dining room, which was the perfect mix of bright fiesta inspired colors. I also made a cute little Bae ❤ Ritto cut out from cactus scrapbook paper and strung up just above the tassel garland. To round out everything, I ordered this adorable mini cactus pinata that was the perfect finishing touch for my table decor. The best part for all these Target pieces if you easier order on the app and then do a drive-up pick up, with limited human interaction, it’s seriously the best!
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We kept the menu simple since it’s just a party at home for two — although we would love to kick it with some friends or family! We also kept it simple to have the perfect amount of color, delicious eats, drinks and taco fix. Our taco pizza recipe is the right amount of taco flavors and toppings, only in pizza form and it’s one of B and I’s favorite dishes. Tostitos Lime Chips are also a must have for any type of taco night, paired with our homemade guacamole, some salsa and occasional some queso for B! The tequlia-less strawberry margarita that we made is also going to be a new summer favorite and go-to taco night sidekick! FancyFiesta(5)
Shop my pieces: Fruit Dinner Plate | Colorful Spritz Tassel Garland | Monique Lhuillier Gabrielle Etched Champagne Coupes | Pink Toucan Salad Plates | Mini Cactus Pinata | Wooden Bead Garland 

Cinco De Mayo has always been special and celebrated by B and I — but we usually celebrate this day a little different than most, because it’s the anniversary of our first date! This Cinco De Mayo will be the start of our 9th year and moving close to our decade of memories and life together.

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Taco Pizza Recipe

We recently had the brilliant idea of making our own at home taco pizza — and let me tell you, it was seriously that, brilliant AND delicious. Normally we make BBQ or Buffalo Chicken Pizza’s but were inspired to make one of our favorite dishes into another dinner favorite, in pizza form. The recipe it quite simple and therefore the perfect amount of taco without going completely overboard with toppings. So when we were prepping our menu for our fancy Cinco De Mayo fiesta, this was the perfect and simple addition to make at home for a fun night in! TacoPizza(3)
This will quickly become a fun way to switch up your Taco Tuesday, Friday night pizza or splurge your upcoming Cinco De Mayo party at home!

Shopping List:
Pizza Crust
Mild Ortega Taco Sauce
– 1-pound of ground beef
– Taco seasoning packet
– Shredded Cheese
2.25oz Sliced Black Olives
– Tomato to slice into pieces
– Optional: Green Onion
– Sour Cream for serving

Step-by-Step Directions:
1. First up, cook your ground beef! Once fully cooked, add your taco seasoning in and set-aside while you prep the rest.

2. With your pizza crust on a pizza pan, pour your Ortega Taco Sauce on as your sauce, and spread around crust with a spoon for nice coverage.

3. Now spoon and spread your ground beef to cover the top of the pizza! Add your black olive slices and tomato slices on next.
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4. Finally, sprinkle your cheese (shred a brick or use a pre-shredded bag) we like to use a mix orange and white cheddar for some added color. And garnish with green onion, if you have it (we didn’t have it this time).

5. Cook in the oven based on the crust directions until crust is looking golden and cheese is melted! Slice up and enjoy!

B likes to serve this with sour cream, it is a nice touch for this delicious pizza — I only have a few bites with sour cream, because that is one dairy item that definitely does not agree with me! But it is a nice flavor accent of cool with the taco flavors on the pizza. Again, we kept this recipe simple because it’s definitely easy to over to do it with your taco toppings — and it’s simply perfect!
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We also like to make B’s simple homemade guacamole paired with our favorite go-to Tostitos lime chips.  To finish off our fancy fiesta night, serve up with a Corona and lime or this super easy and delicious strawberry margarita made with prosecco instead of tequila! This has quickly become a treat that we like to make for date night and a recipe we first tried out for Valentine’s Day when we were planning our date night in. I think the next taco inspired pizza recipe we play around with will be a breakfast taco pizza – omg yum! Like I mentioned, we love everything tacos. And will be sharing our full fancy fiesta Cinco De Mayo night next!

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Prosecco Margarita Recipe

Cinco De Mayo celebrations will be a little different this year — although we don’t typically celebrate this day normally like most anyway, May 5th is special to us for another reason, it’s the anniversary of our first date! So looking ahead at this year, I thought it would be fun to create a fun and fancy fiesta to celebrate with some of our favorite Mexican dishes we make at home! But, before we get to the decor and our favorite Taco Pizza recipe, we needed to make sure we had a festive beverage for our fiesta first!
MargRecipe(4)This fresh margarita inspired recipe is easy, delicious and in my opinion a no brainer since it’s topped with Prosecco instead of Tequila.  I had my one night of Tequila fun, and don’t ever need to enjoy it ever again *grins* — you have had one of those nights too, right?

Shopping List:
– Bottle of Prosecco – Freixenet is my go-to
– 2 cups of Fresh Strawberries
– 1/4 cup of Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
– 1/2 cup of Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (about 2-3 limes depending on size)
– 1.5 – .75 Oz. Agave Nectar
– 1 cup of Ice (2 for 4-servings)ProseccoMarg(1)Step-by-Step Directions:
1. Make sure to wash your fresh fruit well, I ended up slicing my strawberries in half since we had some big ones.
2. Place all your ingredients into a blender. If you want to make a double batch, add two cups of ice — also I used about half as much agave nectar than the recipe I found because I know it’s sweet. Blend well until completely mixed.
3. Get ready to serve! Pour the fruit mix into goblets or cocktail glasses about 2/3rds full and then top off with your bubbles — pour slowly, the Prosecco will bubble quickly with your marg mix. Top off your glass gradually!
4. Slice the center of your strawberry and garnish on the rim of your glass, get ready to cheers and sip away!
MargRecipe(2)This recipe was sooo easy and will be delicious to sip on this summer! Not to mention I love my new Monique Lhuillier Gabrielle Etched Champagne Coupes, they’re give a little bohemian chic vibe for our fancy fiesta and these bubbly margaritas. My next blog is going to be sharing our new go-to make at home Taco Pizza Recipe that will be the perfect taco fix for your at home Cinco De Mayo party — plus I’ll be sharing my fancy fiesta decor!

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Easy Bundt Cake Recipe

With my new found love of bundt cakes, I wanted to try making my own to see if I was able to make anything as good as the Whole Foods ones! The other factor I was dealing with was finding a recipe that didn’t call for heavy cream or lots of ingredients, especially since we’re trying to limit our grocery trips!
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Since I only had mini-bundt cake pan, I altered the bake time to accommodate for the smaller pans, but also included the bake time if you have a full-sized pan. I also modified this recipe to incorporate almond milk.

Bundt Cake Ingredients:
– Cooking Spray / Crisco
– 1.5 cups of stick butter (3-stick)
– 2 cups of sugar
– 4 large eggs
– 1 TBSP. vanilla extract
– 3 cups of flour
– 6 TBSP. cornstarch
– 1.5 TSP. kosher salt
– 1/2 cup of almond milk

Glaze Ingredients:
– 1.5 cups of powdered sugar
– 4-5 TBSP. almond milk
– 1/2 TSP. vanilla extract
– 1/8 TSP. kosher salt

Cake Step-by-Step:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 and grease your bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl, with a hand mixer beat softened butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
3. Add your eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added – with your last egg, add your vanilla extract in and mix well.
4. Next in another bowl whisk you dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
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5. Now take half of your dry ingredients and mix with your first bowl of wet ingredients – beating well until combined. Pour in 3-tablespoons of your almond milk and milk until fully incorporated, then add remaining dry ingredients and rest of the milk depending on consistency.
6. One your batter is ready, it’s time to bake! Pour your batter into greased pans – do not fill your batter up to the top and about half way up, smoothing the top with a spatula. I knew better, but still filled up my first batch to the top – see my #fail below, although it did make for a yummy scraps!
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7. For mini bundt pans, cook for 20-minutes and make sure your toothpick comes out clean – I was able to get 10-mini cakes, if I hadn’t over filled we probably would’ve had a dozen mini cakes. If you’re baking in a full-size pan, back for 55-minutes.
8. Let cakes cool in pan and invert cake pan onto a plate or cooling rack.

Glaze Step-by-Step:
1. Whisk together your powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Since I used almond milk, I gradually added the milk to make sure the consistency was good.
2. Pour of cake and serve!

The cake batter reminds me a lot like my mom’s Christmas cookie dough! It’s sooo yummy, and I definitely licked the bowl and batters clean. Once I filled the tins in about half way, they cooked perfectly at 20-minutes and came out relatively easy with the cooling guides. I love the little personal-sized bundt cakes for a post-dinner or breakfast snack — just add some sprinkles on top and you’ve got a sweet little treat!

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Recipe inspired by Maria’s Kitchen

Easy Birthday Inspired Cocktails

Let the birthday fun continue! Whether you’re having a big birthday bash or keeping it low key with a close group of friends, a fun and festive birthday inspired cocktail can be a delicious addition to the celebration! So I did a little research and had some fun experimenting to bring together a few of my favorite things for a tasty treat for these two easy and super cute cocktails.
BirthdayBeverages(3)Sprinkled Cranberry Rum 
Take your rocks glass and have some frosting in a dish, flip your glass upside down and twist the glass in the frosting so the rim is lined with frosting. Then take your vanilla frosted rim and roll in sprinkles to cover! Once your rocks glass rim is lined, add your ice cube ball and get ready to add your beverages. Add a shot of Bacardi Rum and then top off with your pink lite cranberry.

For both of these drinks I was looking for a cranberry mixer, but a lot of them had high sugars and a lot of carbs. I stumbled upon the Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry cans at Target and read the ingredients and was pleasantly surprised and picked up a 6-pack!

Ingredients:
– Bacardi Rum
Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry
– Ice Cube Ball
– Vanilla Frosting (homemade or store bought)
– Sprinkles
BirthdayBeverages(1)Pink Birthday Bubbles
This one is pretty easy, all you need is some bubbles and again lite pink cranberry and your frosting and sprinkles for your champagne flute rim. With frosting your a dish, flip your champagne flute upside down and twist the glass in the frosting so the rim is lined with frosting. Then take your vanilla frosted rim and roll in sprinkles to cover! Once your sprinkle rim is covered – just liking making a mimosas, fill your glass about 75% with you bubbles and then top off with your cranberry. Cheers!

Ingredients:
– Prosecco of your choice, I used Freixenet
Ocean Spray Pink Lite Cranberry
– Vanilla Frosting
– Sprinkles
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The frosted rim is so tasty and a yummy treat to enjoy as you sip or have once your glass is empty. I bought store made frosting, but would love to make my mom’s frosting recipe for this, especially if you’re already making a cake!  Of course the rim would also taste great with just a glass of plain ol’ delicious bubbles 🍾.

Now that you have a festive and fun birthday drink the birthday celebrating can officially commence — Cheers 🎉!

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Must-Have Birthday Party Decor

With a few of the stress out of the way with my last post, it’s time for all the fun. It may be no surprise to my bee readers that March for me is all about my birthday and St. Patrick’s Day (only because it’s the day after), so that means eating cake, fun party plans and festive decor!  So, continuing on this birthday party train — here are a few finishing touches that are easy and essential for any party celebration and can really help pull in a thoughtful and personalized flair.
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Balloons. Ok, helium shortage aside — balloons are super fun and can be made affordable with the personalize helium tanks, and also make transporting and decorating easy and convenient to decorate in the party space! Bare minimum, having big gold numbers for the big milestone birthday is an absolute MUST. Ordering those off Amazon can also help save on cost and have the balloons shipped right to your door. Even adding a little bit of helium into balloons so they cover the ceiling with long pretty strings is also a simple yet bold look!

Polaroid Frame & Polaroids. This is another Dollar Store hack! If you grab their foam board, it’s conveniently the same rectangular size as a polaroid — so tracing and cutting out to make it a hand held photo prop is another fun way to make a memorable mark. You can even include a hashtag, date or event title on the bottom for all the pictures! Not feeling crafty? You can order customized ones from Etsy. If you have a polaroid camera, this is another fun way to capture memories and moments in front of a photo wall or all the faces who are helping celebrate!

Festive Centerpieces. As much as I love fresh flowers for parties and events, there are simple and cost effective ways to add a little party flair to dessert tables, centerpieces and food spreads.  Grabbing a bunch of party blowers from the Dollar Store and throwing them into small glass vases from the Dollar Store, is a fun and party festive way to add a little extra flair — and even more perfect if you’re throwing a surprise party!
PartyEssentials(1)Dessert. Whether it’s a fun party cake that represents the birthday bee’s personality and favorite flavors to a tee or custom sugar cookies with fun designs and year dates, having a variety of desserts, favorite snacks (like frosted animal crackers or chocolate covered pretzels) or just a super fancy cake, is a fun way to add another personalized touch while making the birthday bee extra happy. Don’t forget, left overs for breakfast!

A Signature Cocktail. A festive cocktail and even themed party cups is another easy finishing touch that can serve as a conversation starter and fun party favor! Whether the cocktail is a play on the number, or an ode to the birthday bee’s favorite beverage and mixer with a fun garnish, patterned paper straws or golden party umbrellas for a fun birthday beverage!

Simple Photo Collage. Creating a simple photo wall of the birthday bee can be the perfect way to celebrate the big milestone birthday and looking back at all the years before! Using a string and festive clothes pins can be a cute way to display all the pictures, also clipping onto your blind strings is another alternative that can help fill up a space without making away from streamers and other fun party decor!
PartyEssentials(3)Another easy way to help keep yourself on track and also having a cohesive look for your next birthday bash is picking a theme whether it’s a 90’s throwback theme, a color scheme, or a mood you want to invoke — this can help keep you in line for picking all these finishing touches and really make a statement!

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