And just like that — my baby is eight. We celebrated my little love over labor day weekend (fun fact: I went into labor on Labor Day). Each year rolls around much quicker than the last. Planning her first couple of birthdays took a lot of time and effort. Now that I have almost a decade of experience, I can finally say I've mastered the art of easy, design-infused and budget-friendly kiddie celebrations. Read on for a few of my tips:

Pick an accessible theme. Why bohemian? I worked with decor elements I already happen to have at home. All the indigo pillows, rugs, towels.... and furniture I've collected (errr......hoarded) over the years worked beautifully outdoors. I try to use what I have on hand (or borrow from friends and family) before renting or purchasing — creativity and inspiration strike hard when resources are limited.  

Save without compromising on style and tradition. Well-designed and thoughtful invitations set the tone and give guests a hint of what's to come. While I love old-fashioned letterpress cards, I'm a huge fan of Paperless Post. Their collection of electronic invitations are gorgeous (check out their Kelly Wearstler collection) and the online interface makes it quick to customize and send (perfect for last-minute events). It's extremely easy to manage the guest list, send updates and thank-you notes. You can even order a paper version of your e-card as a keepsake (seen above).

What goes hand-in-hand with a theme? Entertainment. Consider current interests, the kids' age range and how well the activity complements the overall style. Natalie really enjoys swimming and had the time of her life during our recent trip to Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. Inspired by the boho vibes and water activities, we decided a casual and intimate pool party at my sister's house would mean maximum fun with zero effort. An oversized swan float was all it took to keep the party going.

I like to focus on a few simple yet strong elements that play up the theme. Aside from styling the decor, my DIY efforts went into a few raffia goodie bags (adorned with some leftover tassels) and the cake topper (also crafted from leftover tassels).

We handed each guest a flower crown and succulent favors (that also doubled as decor). The menu? Yummy quesadillas and a build-your-own taco station from our favorite Mexican cantina — I'm a huge fan of interactive food situations since it's another form of entertainment. Dessert? Susie Cakes' Celebration Cake and Ice Cream Cookies.

This is a far cry from her first birthday. I drove myself insane trying to DIY everything myself. I baked over 50 cupcakes from scratch and was up until three in the morning building the mini booths for the county-fair themed party. Lesson learned. I choose to keep things simple. I choose to keep stress levels down by setting realistic expectations of myself. What can I do with the time I have? What can I delegate or outsource? 

On-theme in this ruffled off-shoulder top (less than $20 and on heavy rotation!).

A simple yet thoughtful finishing touch: Turkish towels were laid out for the guests.

I'm reminded once again how the simplest things can bring so much joy. We had a very small budget and so little time to pull this all together yet Natalie had a truly memorable celebration. 

S H O P   T H E   L O O K
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