My daughter’s 14th birthday party was complete with lots of balloons, an outdoor picnic, with a teepee and fashion frenzy activity. It was a labor of love for the family. We started decorating the day before the event.
A passion for entertaining is one of the many qualities I borrowed from my late mother. To me, cooking, presentation, and entertaining all go hand in hand. My mom wasn’t just a great cook but also the queen of parties, so to speak. She entertained Government officials, priests, teachers, family, friends, children, everyone. Up until her last years, she hosted parties for kids in our village, Thibaud. The last party we hosted together was an epic Christmas party for the kids there, complete with balloons, cookies, candy, cakes, lemonade, gifts, and of course, Santa Claus. See photos here. The year was 2011, and it was the last Christmas she spent on the island she adored before she succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Christmas of 2019, my daughter and I continued the tradition and hosted a New Years’ party for the kids, but it wasn’t the same. Even with balloons, hors d’oeuvres, candy, cakes, chocolates, gifts and other special treats, we definitely missed the hostess with the mostess. See photos here.
I wholeheartedly inherited my mom’s entertaining genes and have spent my lifetime throwing parties for family members and friends. Yet, I don’t like being on the receiving end. I always find it extremely rewarding to make others happy. To date, I’ve hosted nine milestone birthday parties – all surprises, including five 40ths; planned tons of weddings, bridal and baby showers, fundraisers, auctions, school graduation celebrations, and a plethora of my children’s birthday parties.
Kid’s parties are my favorite to plan since they usually let me have free reign with my ideas. I organized a promotion party in 2019 for my son’s middle school for 412 teens – Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-themed. I was thrilled to take it to the next level with a conservative school budget. The kids enjoyed every aspect of the party, and I had fun recreating the chocolate Factory at JLS middle school in Palo Alto.
Recently, my daughter has been organizing her parties with me. Four years ago, she invited a few of her close friends over for a sleepover. We decided to build individual tents for everyone and made the event super special with homemade pizza, pillow decorating, a movie, and a fully stocked candy bar.
Last year, we had a 13th birthday celebration for her, with only the family- six of us. So, of course, we included all her favorite things like donuts, cake pops, candy, seafood boil, and other special touches, with her go-to color, yellow.
This year, since it was her 14th birthday and her promotion year from middle school, she wanted a special celebration to commemorate both events, so she invited all her friends- those she met in elementary school and her current school. She picked the color scheme – rose gold and the theme, fashion frenzy – where top chef meets project runway. The girls were divided into four groups: They were given a basket with fabric and everything they needed to create a masterpiece collection within 30 minutes. The catch is, they needed to use everything in the basket. They all rose to the challenge.
Since there were a few vegetarians in the group, she decided on having a taco caterer for food and a charcuterie board with some of her favorites, including cheese straw from Banana Mama, a Dominican company in the US. They ate a picnic-styled dinner and enjoyed a variety of desserts on the dessert cart.