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Find Your Tribe

As I sit here refining my goals for 2017 I can’t help but look back over last year. 2016 was a big year for me, not only in business, but even more so personally. It was a year of change. As some of you may know, I struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety after having Miss Scarlett in 2014. The first year was unbelievably rough and I knew I had to make some changes.

One of those changes was to remove myself from people and situations that brought negativity into my life. In this day and age it isn’t so easy. I had enough negativity swirling around in my head, that I didn’t need anyone adding more mental weight to drag me down. Some of this purging was as easy as hitting “unfriend” or “unfollow” on Facebook. It was amazing how much better I felt by cutting out the social media drama. I also stopped watching the news. Have you ever noticed that there are very few positive stories? The media feeds off drama and this momma was so over it. This also meant distancing myself from certain people, some that were close to me. We all know who these people are in our life. They are the ones that leave you feeling drained or negative yourself. They siphon from your cup rather than fill it.

With the external weight lifted I found a renewed sense of motivation. As the saying goes, “As one door closes another opens”.  And boy did it ever! Early spring I decided to focus my energy into seeing what I could do with this little cookie thing. As things started picking up I quickly realized I needed some guidence and joined an online business coaching group ran by Jennifer Allwood, who just so happens to be a Kansas City girl too. It was like someone just put the paddles on me and shocked me back to life. I was instantly surrounded with 100+ creative women business owners. Women who think the same way as I do, who are trying to juggle the business and family balance just like me, that even though their businesses are thriving, have the same insecurities as I do! The best thing, they are so welcoming. It doesn’t matter if you are starting from square one in business or you’ve had a brick and mortar for 15 years. Everyone helps each other. Everyone WANTS to see the other succeed! There is no drama, no sabotage, no mean girls, and no negativity, just women helping other women along the path to success. The ladies in this group are AMAZING! Jennifer is AMAZING! I have learned SO much in such a small amount in time. The Inner Circle group is seriously the best investment I have made in my business.

Last week was the icing on the cake, or should I say sprinkle on the cookie? Jennifer asked me to make cookies for her and The Chic Site by Rachel Hollis’ Meet Up and Book Signing. My reaction, uh heck YES! (Followed by a few air punches and the worst Carlton you have ever seen.) If that wasn’t awesome enough, I also got to meet Jennifer, Rachel, my Kansas City (and one Illinois) Inner Circle friends face to face for the first time. It was such an amazing feeling to walk into a room of 70 women, many who have never met before, and feel like you are amongst lifelong best friends. When I walked out those doors to head home that night my Tribe was extended even further, my heart fuller, and my dreams bigger!

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Inner Circle Ladies: Niki McDowell , Melissa Rieke, Jennifer Allowed, Nicole Moore, Angie BauerAnna Bannister

 

Moral of my story, choose your Tribe wisely and love them beyond measure. Happiness is contagious! Surround yourself with uplifting and encouraging people. Don’t have a Tribe? You do now! Welcome to my Sweet Squad, friend! If you need a little encouragement don’t hesitate to shoot me a message.

*Interested in joining the Inner Circle Group you can find it here. Tell Jen I sent you.

Photo credit: Melissa Rieke Photography

 

 

 

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3 Ways to Tame the Squirrel Brain

This post does contain affiliate links  for many of the items so that you can easily find them online.

Call me a hotmess. My brain is constantly going a mile a minute. Most creative people have. That’s what makes us creative! Where do you think all of those ideas come from anyway? The challenge is snagging those ideas when they come. Like most moms I rarely have a moment to myself where I can gather my thoughts. My squirrel brain is easily distracted by the laundry, kids, dishes, husband, kids, social media, kids, never ending to do list, did I say kids? I’ve had to get creative to snag those fleeting ideas.  Here are 3 of my favorite tricks that work for me that can be adapted for any busy mom.

 

Use that little bit of time wisely!

For me that time is when I’m in the shower and getting ready. Let’s face it, I can only take a shower when little Miss Scarlett is sleeping so I have to use this time wisely. This little Bluetooth Shower Speaker was a game changer. I use this baby to listen to my business trainings but you could also listen to pod casts, ebooks, music, and even take a phone call.

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Take Notes

I take notes of everything! If it’s not written down I will forget it. I have a horrible memory. So I take notes. LOTS OF NOTES! You know how I said I listen to my business trainings in the shower? Yep, I take notes in the shower too. Yeah, that’s right! I’ve written grocery lists, ideas for blog posts, To Do lists, you name it, it’s been written on my shower wall with bathtub crayons. I also use dry erase markers on my bathroom mirror and on an old window in our kitchen.  Do you find that your mind races when you lay in bed at night and can’t sleep? Keep a notebook on your night stand and jot your notes there instead of reaching for your phone. I find that if I reach for my phone I end up on social media or Pinterest and down the rabbit hole only to emerge an hour later with no memory of what I was going to write down to begin with. Sound familiar?

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Organize your Day!

I’m a list and a goal maker. This helps keeps my crazy ideas moving in the right direction. It’s easy to get off track if you don’t have a clear path to your goals. I love to take those big scary dreams and goals and break those babies down into manageable monthly, weekly, and daily goals. I searched high and low and finally found the perfect planner for goal makers like me. I love that each day has it’s own page and plenty of room that makes my list making heart flutter.

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These are all small things that you can do that can make a big difference in your day to day. What are your go to time and sanity saving tips and tricks?  I’d love to hear what you do to tame your squirrel brain.

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A Time to Reflect

It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life. Add the craziness of the holidays and top it off the prospect and excitement of the new year. It’s enough to make my already spinning head go into overdrive. In all of the excitement of rushing into those new goals or resolutions and focusing on bigger and better things we can lose perspective of what we have accomplished this year. We need to stop and really reflect.

Phew, what a year it was! Our 2016 was a roller coaster filled with both personal and professional triumph and heartbreak. The hard moments are usually the easiest to recall. Pain and disappointment carve deep impressions on our slate. The big exciting moments are close behind and add to the highlight reel of the year. Then there are those everyday moments that if we aren’t careful can get lost in the day to day shuffle. Hold on to them all. Hold them tight and keep them close. There is something to learn from them all. Even in the depths of the pain there is a lesson. It may take time to see it, but it is there.

Today as I’m forcing myself to sit and reflect on 2016 I’m choosing to focus on the triumphs, both big and small. My business coach challenged us to make a list of 10 things we accomplished this year. The first 6 came fairly easy. The last 4 really made me think. What surprised me was that those last few accomplishments were the ones that were the most personal, had a deeper meaning, and were the accomplishments that I am most proud of.  They were also the accomplishments that no one saw. The intangible ones that only hold significance to me.

My coach is one smart cookie I tell ya. She knows what we need to push deep and pull out the best of us even when we don’t see it ourselves. I challenge you to do the same. I bet you accomplished more this year than you thought. I know I did.

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Fight off Fear by saying “YES!”

Have you ever had an idea and then immediately thought, “Oh, I can’t do that” or “Maybe someday when…(followed by any number of excuses)?  You know the big ones; I don’t have time, I’m busy with the kids, I don’t have the money. Yeah, me too. I’m pretty sure I’ve used every excuse in the book at one time or another. But let’s be honest with each other here, we can do that, right? We’re all friends here afterall and friends tell each other the truth, even when it’s hard.

Here’s the truth. All of those excuses are just a cover for FEAR.

Yep, that big 4 letter “F” word. FEAR.

Fear of failure, Fear of not being good enough, Fear of putting yourself out there, Fear of being judged, Fear of “what if”. Let me just tell you right now. If you tried, you did NOT fail! I don’t care who you are – YOU ARE good enough! By putting yourself out there you have already succeed because you have made the first step to grow! If you are being judged just remember, the only reason people talk behind your back is because you’re already ahead of them. Break through that FEAR and just act.

I know what you’re thinking, yeah, yeah, easier said than done. Well, let me tell you, you’re right. It can be hard, but like anything else you have to start somewhere and as you work at it, it will get easier. Just try this and see what happens. Take on a life of YES! Commit yourself to saying YES to healthy opportunities that come your way. A funny thing happens when we just say YES instead of overthinking. Instead of giving fear time to creep in your mind shifts into “get it done “mode.

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I committed to this mindset earlier this year and I have gone onto do things I never thought I would. One being writing my first ebook, The Not So Basic Sugar Cookie. My excuses were: I’m not a writer. I don’t know how to make a professional looking ebook. I’m not the best cookier. What if I go through all of the work and no one buys it? As I began feeling the doubt creep in you know what I did? I made the commitment by telling someone. Actually, I knew I needed a bigger accountability group so I, gulp, announced it on my Facebook page to solidify my commitment. I knew that by putting it out there my followers would hold me accountable. And they did! Funny thing happened. Just as the doubt and procrastination would creep back in someone would ask me when the ebook would be done. It was just the kick in the butt I needed. THANK YOU!

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I also had to change my mindset. You know what? Maybe I’m not the best writer, but at least I tried and that’s more than most. Maybe my ebook isn’t Martha Stewart caliber, but I am proud of how it turned out. Honestly, it exceeded my expectations! Am I the best cookier? No, and I’m ok with that. We all have to start somewhere. And that last, scary FEAR? What if no one buys it? Well, they have! I may not have made a ton of money on it yet, but it holds so much value to me. It’s value is in the reminder that I broke through the Fear and and self doubt. It’s a reminder that I can accomplish more than even I can imagine and so can you! Keep breaking through the fear and the best is yet to come!

If you are interested in purchasing my ebook you can find it here. Thank you for your support in helping me fight through my own fears.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Change comes in all forms. It can be good, bad, and uncomfortable at times. But it can also be exactly what we need to grow. The best part of change is that we have the power over how it will affect us. It’s all about perspective. Will you fight it or will you welcome it with open arms?

I’m sure you are wondering, what changes? Well, for one, I have officially crossed over from event planning to custom cookies. I had my last event in September and I do not plan to book any more. You may see the occasional family event, here and there because I do love a good party. This girl can’t just go cold turkey!

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So, what does this mean? It means Sweet n Saucy Events is evolving and you will be seeing a lot more cookies and a lot more of our Sweet n Saucy Life! I plan to blog 2-4 times a month about cookie tips, tricks, and products I think you will love. If you want to see more, and I know you do HA!, follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I’m excited to see where this Sweet and Saucy Life takes me and would love it if you came along for the ride!

-April

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Cutie Marks

Did you know that those cute little marks on the pony’s bums are called Cutie Marks? Yeah, me neither. As a child of the 80’s I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t know this vital information.  Rest assured, my knowledge in the My Little Pony department has grown leaps and bounds due to this party. My sweet little niece Avery was quite the teacher.

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I am a huge advocate to letting the kids have a say in their party. Bring them to the consultation. It is all about them, right? Kids know what they want! And they aren’t afraid to tell you if they don’t like your ideas, Avery included. Avery wanted her three favorite ponies in the party (Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, and Pinkie Pie) and absolutely, without a doubt, did NOT want Rainbow Dash anywhere. I don’t know what Rainbow Dash did to get on Avery’s bad side, but let’s just say the disdain for that little rainbow pony is intense. LOL

For the tablescape Avery’s mom bought a large poster of Fluttershy. You can find the exact poster here. There are other cute options here if you want to incorporate all of the ponies. The honeycomb balls and tissue fans were all part of a party set from Party City. To add a little color to the tabletop we took this happy birthday banner and cut it apart.

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We incorporated the three favorites into the centerpieces. The centerpieces were super easy to make.  All you need is some clip art, bamboo skewers, craft or floral foam, tissue paper, adhesive (we used spray adhesive), and a small bucket to put it all in. I used clipart of both the pony and it’s cutie mark and duplicated each image. I then reversed one of each of the pony images in Photoshop so that when we glued them together the images would line up. Next just spray the adhesive on the backs of each image and sandwich the skewer in the middle. Stick the skewer in the craft foam, wrap with tissue and you’re done! Avery’s mom, Tiffany, bought the cute glitter #4’s at Hobby Lobby. You can find them in the cake supply section.

Avery wanted a photo area so we found this one here at Party City. As you can see, they had a lot of fun with the masks we found here at Walmart.

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They all had fun with the pony themed activities. They bobbed for Apple Jack’s apples, decorated Fluttershy’s butterflies and played horseshoes, or cow shoes as Avery was calling them. We have no idea where that came from.

After the fun and games came the treats! Of course we had a CrazyCakesKC Fluttershy cake! It was as delicious as it was pretty.

The favors included buckets filled with stickers, coloring pages, and rings. To top it all off we attached a little hair clip to each bucket. You can find them herehere, and here. The little guests also got to take home a My Little Pony cookie. Of course I had to make them resemble Avery’s favorite three ponies.

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It was a great party and all of the littles had a blast!  Happy 4th Birthday sweet Avery! I hope all of your wishes come true! Auntie A loves you!

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Want more party ideas? Be sure to subscribe above. You can also see sneak peeks of events on Facebook and Instagram. Follow me on Pinterest for inspiration for your next event.

*Blog contains affiliate links.

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Cheers & Beers!

Pulling off a surprise party can be tricky. It took a handful of friends and family conspiring together to keep the party a secret and luckily it was a success!

Themed parties are my favorite parties to plan. So when I was asked to plan and style this party for a beer enthusiast, the theme was a no-brainer.

I love the current chalkboard trend and thought it would be perfect with the black, white, and golden yellow color scheme. To keep it masculine I pulled in galvanized buckets and distressed wood accents.

As guests waited for the man of the hour they snacked on a wasabi peas, mixed nuts, and snack mix. They washed it all down with an assortment of beer, tea, or customized water.

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The Entrance…SURPRISE!!!

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When you think of men and beer of course you think wings and come on, everything is better with bacon! The menu consisted of three types of wings from Buffalo Wild Wings, Marinated ham and cheese sliders, carrots and celery in either ranch or blue cheese dip, and a fruit and cheese board. I know what your thinking, where’s the bacon? It’s coming…

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It wouldn’t be a party without cake. And boy did Ashley at Crazy Cakes KC out do herself on this one!!! I have NEVER had a reaction from guests like I did with this cake! Multiple people thought it was just a prop for decor. One guest even took video on his phone when it came time to cut it. Minds were blown.

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To add insult to injury we threw in some Maple Bacon Mini Cupcakes. YEP, BACON!! These little guys were dangerous. The mini size were just perfect for popping one in your mouth. Or two, or ten. Dangerous I tell  you, DANGEROUS! I tweaked the original recipe a little but you can find the full size cupcake recipe pinned to my party inspiration board here. While you’re on Pinterest why not just follow me?

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I had the opportunity to work with a new chalk artist! Jazmyn at Chalk & Creations did an amazing job on the custom chalkboard! It looked just like the invitation. I carried the chalkboards throughout the party with mini chalkboards for the food cards and enlarged faux chalkboards for the backdrops and photo on the mantle.

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With any event, I’m all about the details! Details elevate a party. Take the time. It’s always worth it.

Last but not least, anticipate your guests needs. You want your guests to feel special and leave your event with not just a memory, but an experience! I love to listen in and see what people comment about during my events. At this party the #1 topic was the amazing cake. #2 was the bathroom guest basket filled with anything you may need while at the party. One guest came up and told me she couldn’t believe we had Juicy Fruit gum in the bathroom. She said it took her back to her childhood. It’s the little things people! The little details!

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You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these. Most items can be found at the Dollar Store. They are a major crowd pleaser! At this party more than one guest was happy to hear we had Shout wipes on hand.

What unexpected surprise do you have for your guests at your events?

Want more ideas to come your way? Stay social! Like me on Facebook. Follow me on Instagram and Pinterest and don’t forget to subscribe!

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Vintage Sewing 50th Birthday

If you know me and were to hear me talking about anything sewing related then you would probably laugh yourself out of your chair. I am NOT a seamstress. Not in the slightest. It is not a talent of mine nor do I ever see myself having the desire to pursue the craft. Hot glue and velcro for life! Truth be told, I have hot glued halloween costumes for my children. I’m not ashamed by this, the costumes were epic. Held together with hot glue, sweat, and mommy wishes but they held together for the one night they were needed and I consider that a WIN!

My friends Nicole and Kim on the other hand amaze and inspire me with the beautiful quilts and bags they create. I am at awe with their talent and passion for the craft.

You can find my talented friends on Etsy:

Nicole at EtsyFacebookBlog

Kim at Etsy, Facebook is coming soon!

Caring is sharing! So check them out.

So when Nicole contacted me to design a party to celebrate Kim’s 50th birthday party I knew right away that it should be a sewing theme. I may not know anything about sewing but I do know parties and I love to style so I embraced the challenge and dove in headfirst. I do love a challenge! Let me tell you, I had a BLAST pulling together all of the little details.

During our consultation we decided on the color scheme, cake, and a few decor items but I had secretly hoped that she would trust me and let me surprise her with a few things as too. As it turns out, wishes do come true and I was able to do just that. Without further ado, here are some photos.

 The Before and After

The Guest Tables

I based the entire color scheme on these gorgeous napkins I found at Party City. I loved the soft hues and they reminded me of a vintage hankie that my grandmother would have carried. When I design a party I try to infuse as much personalization into the party as possible. Both Kim and Nicole specialize in bags so I found some bag patterns and layered them on the tables. I also found the cutest little sewing notion charms at Hobby Lobby and tied them to the mason jars with twine.

The Cake Table

Nicole had told me that Kim picked out her cake long before talk of the party had even begun. I love that we were able to deliver. Our friend Julie at Sierra’s Cakes made Kim’s birthday cake wish a reality. Nicole added the drama to the party by bringing her vintage sewing table for the cake display. I mean come on, how perfect is this! Nicole, you are a great friend. Toting that table to the venue was no easy feat I’m sure. But I’m so glad you did!

The Food and Drink Table

The food and drink tables were “Sew” (yep, I totally went there with the cheesy word play, you knew it was coming and you are welcome) much fun to design. I found the dress form on a local swap page and it was the perfect fit. For the backdrop I stretched lace in embroidery hoops and hung them with Command Strips. Can I get a hallelujah for the creation of Command products? I use them ALL.THE.TIME! I found the idea for the button covered “50” on Pinterest. I love the vibrant ombre buttons that I found at JoAnn’s Craft Store. Details take your design to the next level. Spend time in the details! The balls of yarn, oversized spools of thread, measuring tape, and little wooden spools as bases for the food markers finished off the look.

Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear what you think! What was your favorite detail? What would you have added? Want to keep the inspiration coming? Subscribe.

Be Inspired!

I LOVE window shopping! Doesn’t everyone? When I have time, and my toddler isn’t going into defcon 10, I love to take my time in Hob Lob (Hobby Lobby) or any craft or home store and just peruse the isles. Armed with the camera on my cell phone, the search is on for anything that may inspire me. When I find that hidden, or not so hidden, treasure I snap a photo of it and the price. Budget is important people!

I was insanely inspired while walking through the Easter aisle at Hob Lob a few weeks ago. Ideas started flying immediately and I had to restrain myself from throwing everything I could see in my cart. My husband should thank me with flowers and chocolate for having such restraint. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. It doesn’t take a genius to put together premade decor for Easter. But think outside the box with me. You see Easter, I see a Peter Cottontail Baby Shower or First Birthday theme! Walk with me and let me explain.

The first item I came across were these adorable carrot garlands and bunny bottom garlands. I mean come on! Can it get any more adorable than that? How cute would it be to hang one of them on the front of your food display table or as a garland behind your table.

 

Or how about these little fabric or twine carrots? They would make adorable place markers for your table settings! Just unbunch the carrots, tie a name tag to each carrot and place the carrot on the plate or napkin at each setting.

This faux grass is a fun way to decorate your food display table just sit your food trays right on top or even use it as part of a table runner or centerpiece for your table.

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Want to welcome your guests at the door? Keep it simple with one of these beauties! You could even use these on your food display table for a bigger impact. Perhaps sitting on top of that cute faux grass? Love it!

If you haven’t had enough bunny, look at this precious guy. I love everything about him. And he was a good size! Perfect for a focal point on your food display table.

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I just love a Peter Cottontail theme for a baby shower. To the point that I’m pretty sure I heard my ovaries crying right there in the middle of Hob Lob. No more babies for us, but that just means I need, and I mean need, for my ovaries sake, to be commissioned to design this shower for someone else’s precious blessing.

I hope this inspired you to think outside the box and look at those seasonal items at a different angle. Everyone loves a dual purpose item right? Party decor today, home decor for the years to come. Everyone wins!

If you want more party inspiration please take a moment to subscribe. What would you do with these items? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

It’s time.

I have been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time. I actually started one about a year ago but truth is, I got discouraged. I let that little voice of self doubt step in and stop me cold in my tracks.  What if no one read? What if no one even looks? What if I fail? Let’s just say there were a LOT of what ifs.

Well, I’m DONE! Done with the what ifs, and done with the self doubts. Sure, it will creep back from time to time but I won’t let it stop me. As a creative person everything I put out there carries a piece of my heart and putting that out there for the world to see (and let’s be honest, to be judged) can be scary. But you know what? It’s way scarier for me to stop sharing my passion for all things design. What would our world be if all of the creative people of the word just stopped creating? It definitely wouldn’t be pretty.

So here I am. Ready to create. But mostly just ready! It’s TIME! I would love for you to go along this path of life with me. I promise there will be lots of pretty things ahead. If you want to join this crazy train please click on the Follow button on my side bar.

Thank you so much for stopping by. It means more than you will ever know!

April