Epic Supergirl Party For My Super 7 Year Old!

When planning Johanna’s 7th birthday party I was…tired. Tired and confused. She wasn’t really clear on what she wanted and I was still super exhausted from planning Isabella’s (that post is super late, yet coming soon). To know me is to know that I like to be very hands on when it comes to my parties. The thought of having to plan yet another one was overwhelming to say the least. We threw around so many ideas: Emoji party, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland… The emoji party sounded very blah to me, I loved the idea of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (still not sure why we didn’t go with that one), and Alice in Wonderland was just too much. There were too many decorations I would simply have to do and I would run myself into the ground trying to make my vision happen. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a flash of Johanna in a superhero outfit went through my mind and I knew that was it.

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But I also knew that I did NOT want to do your typical Spiderman/Avengers/etc. party. I also did not want to do wonder woman or any other supergirl character party. I wanted the party to be focused on Johanna and her friends specifically being superheroes. That’s when I jumped on good ole fiverr and began the first step in having an african american superhero girl created. In fact, I had 2 different people turn a photo of Johanna into a superhero. I was not very happy with either of them – shout out to my graphic artist friend Amanda for fixing the drawing I liked the best (you can find her contact info down below)! In the end it worked out and it gave me a great starting point for the party. With that photo I began to scour the internet for invitation ideas and I felt pretty darn good about myself for getting the invitations out before 2018!

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So here’s the thing. I knew Johanna was watching me with this party. She saw how much work I put into Isabella’s party. She also saw how for months I had supplies rolling in so that I could make all the things for the party. She was watching to make sure that she received equal treatment and I was trying my darndest to make sure that happened.

But then the Christmas season came. And I forgot. Forgot all about the party.

So right after New Year’s I looked to see what was on my plate and was shook to find that not only was her party coming up, but I hadn’t done a darn thing for it! We had secured Badlands in Rockville, MD for the party, but that was all that was done. No cake was ordered, no cookies, nothing! And while I do love making cakes for family and friends, Isabella has sucked every bit of energy I ever had in the last year and it just wasn’t going to happen, so I had to get moving.

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Thanks to Instagram I found a baker. A week before the party we headed to his bakery at Iverson Mall and I tried a cupcake. The cupcake was good, so I went ahead and inquired about ordering a cake. After some back and forth of trying to work with my meager budget ($100 or less) I got the cake order and felt darn good about that. Next I dug through facebook trying to find the cookie decorator I had met at a local Homemakers Ministry I attend, as my usual cake person was on vacation until the day AFTER party! Thankfully I found her, and she was able to fill my order with iced sugar cookies that were so soft and yummy! I was on a roll!

Then thanks to my creativity and at times, some help from etsy, we got things rolling. Johanna was constantly peeking over my shoulders and I could tell she was starting to feel very excited about how things were coming together for the party. But then I remembered that the child needed something to wear. Oy! I hit up my friend Mallory who is famous for making an outfit for her girls in a day, and gave her my vision for Johanna’s cape. I also need one made for her cake topper (more on that later). She was able to whip it up and get it to me in a week, and I am forever thankful. I bought a plain white shirt from Walmart and do to limited time I shoved my silhouette into the corner and created a simple and quick iron for her shirt instead of vinyl. I also made one for the whole family. I ordered a tutu off of amazon (which arrived smelling very much so like fish and had to be washed 2x to get the smell out) and some gold pants (wear once and done type pants, if you know what I mean). I forgot all about the mask, but thankfully a wonderful etsy shop was able to get that to me in 3 days.

By the time the day of the party arrived I was dizzy with exhaustion and so happy that I was almost done. However, my annoyance at how tired and frantic I was dissipated when I saw how happy and excited Johanna was at her party. I barely saw the child because everytime I looked around I would just see a flash of gold sprint down a hill, or a slide, or climbing up. There was laughter, much exercise and the sounds of kids becoming exhausted from the fun.

They colored airplanes, got inside of one, and had fun with some stuff that looked like playdoh but was actually much nicer than any playdoh I’ve ever had. And then there was cake!

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So my regular cake topper lady was also on vacation when I went to place my order. Instead I decided to buy this really cute doll I saw and I was going to use her for the cake topper. She arrived and she was MUCH too big. I tried to get a couple of people to make her a doll. One wanted entirely too much money, and the other just…it just…yeah, no. I couldn’t. So that was scary because I was really stuck. 2 days before the party I drug the kids to Target in a final effort to find the dang cake topper. I prayed that the Lord would guide me, and he did. In my favorite aisle (you know which one) I looked down and there was exactly one doll that was $5 and could totally work for the cake topper! I jazzed her up with the cake and a little sticker I attached to her shirt and voila! It really worked out, don’t you think?! And I intended on making cupcakes, but then I saw this hot pink cake at my local grocery store for only $14 and I thought about how much time I would be saying and decided what the heck? Two cakes it is! I also stepped on the cake before leaving for the party so there’s that…

The kids loved their favors! I’m so thankful to oriental trading for the sunglasses and cupcake (turned candy apple) stand I was able to get from them. Although I must say that was absolute favorite favor to give out was the tumblers I bought from Dollar Tree. I glittered them, added a sticker, and boom! I also really enjoyed making the placemats. For the backside I was able to print a cute table setting guide for the kids. I really do like for my favors to be functional and I thought the parents would appreciate that.

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It was an amazing party and everyone had a super time. And I am beyond happy that in 2016 we decided that the girls would have a birthday party every other year instead of every year, so mama gets some rest in 2018.

If you would like for me to do a review on my experience having a party at Badlands let me know!

Location: Badlands PlaySpace, Rockville, MD
Cake: Pro Cakes, Iverson Mall, Temple Hills, MD
Safeway, Bowie, MD
Cookies: Adrien of Sweet Treats Couture, MD.
Cupcake Stand: Oriental Trading
Cake “topper”: Target
Water Bottle Labels: PrintablesMirtaGyles
Supergirl Candy Bar Wrapper: SimplyEverydayMe
Superhero Birthday Sign: SimplyDovie
Mask: Monichelle Designs
Metallic Leggings: Amazon
Graphic Design Artist: Amanda Carlson

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Mommy En Blanc: Simply Magical

You know, sometimes being a mom is just downright magical. Picture it, a Friday evening in June near downtown Washington, DC. 50ish beautiful African American moms and their children stroll onto the waterfront wearing all white, turning heads and leaving folks with questioning yet admiring eyes.

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The night before I was nervous. I have actually never been to an all white event. I’ve always opted not to go because honestly, me, in white? Are you out of your mind? Just give me 2 minutes and I’m guaranteed to add a little spice to that white, usually in the form of sauce or marker. So I was stressed all the way out trying to figure out what to wear. I settled on an off the shoulder white shirt from Boohoo and white jeans from old navy. I was headed to a mommy and me playdate with Johanna. I try to go out on dates with her from time to time, just the two of us, like it used to be. And I was super geeked because District Motherhued was having their first ever Mommy en Blanc event.

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I had been sitting back and watching District Motherhued for a few months. Looking at the events and seeing if the bonds were real. In May I had just decided that yes, they were, and the events looked amazing! I had to be apart of it! So I was super geeked when they announced Mommy en Blanc! Mommy en Blanc is a play on Diner en Blanc, but it is much more relaxed. However, the heart of it remained the same. The location was a secret, you had to wear all white, and you had to bring your meal. And it was beautiful.

 

We elegantly stormed onto Yards Park on the waterfront  with our kids strolling beside us. Some of us pushed strollers to our destination. No, seriously, it looked like a whole sea of strollers. I loved it! We took our places on the grass to listen to a live jazz band, enjoy our vittles, and get to know other mom’s. The kids got their faces paint, played with their balloon art, while the adults enjoyed a glass of wine and a cupcake or two.

I honestly was shocked at how quickly I bonded with other moms.  It was a breath of fresh air to be apart of a group that made you feel like you were one of them. And it’s because I was. Motherhood was our bond. NO matter what our background was, we all connected as moms and it was simply delightful.

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Photo Credit: @shutter_to_think_photo

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…Gender Reveal Party!

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In fall of 2015 JD and I were contemplating whether or not to have another child. We talked about it often and definitely prayed about it. During that time I thought about the things I would look forward to if I were ever to get pregnant again. One of those things was a gender reveal party.

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I hadn’t even heard of a gender reveal party until a couple of years ago, but once I did I couldn’t shake the idea. How exciting! Finding out the gender with your closest family and friends. That I definitely wanted in on.

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So even though we decided not to have another little one, God had other plans, and while adjusting to the journey I quickly started throwing ideas together for a gender reveal. Then I started poking around pinterest and getting overwhelmed.I was in my first trimester and exhausted, feeling ill, and just not in the greatest frame of mind. How was I going to pull off a gender reveal party? Cheaply. I was going to do it cheaply. I soon realized that this party could be what I wanted it to be, not everything I was seeing on pinterest. It wasn’t going to be as elaborate as my other parties because I simply wasn’t feeling up to it and that was ok. Also, we were having it at our house which meant the crowd had to be really intimate, so it wasn’t going to be some huge affair. All of that was more than ok with me.

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So we pulled it off. We did Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as the theme. Instead of me doing my usual treats table where I make a million sweets, I simply did a Sundae bar and I’m happy to say that it was a hit! We had a ballot and did stickers to show how everyone voted. Then my friend Michelle made me this amazing Star pinata to use to reveal the gender. We slipped the envelope to my sister-in-law and she was the only one of us to know the gender up until the reveal. Food was simple. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken salad, fruit, potato salad, and of course, cake.

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It was a good time had by all, and the best part was, I did it my way. Ok, enough of that. Ready to know what we’re having? It’s a….

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GIRL! Another princess to spoil. Awww, we can’t wait to meet you Jelly Bean! You’re already so loved!

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Blogalicious 2015: Leaving My Shell and Building My Empire

byoe15A couple of weeks ago I went to my first blogging conference. This was, and still is, a big deal for me for a plethora of reasons, but the biggest deal is that I’m an introvert. Most people don’t believe me when they’re sitting down talking to me, but it’s true. I’m an extroverted introvert. Being in a big crowd is draining for me because I feel like I have to be “on” the whole time and I really need time to collect myself after that. Time to be with myself and re-energize. That is one of the main reasons I had never been to a blogging conference previously. However, I kept hearing about this Be Blogalicious community and conference and I was promised that this conference is different. It’s not one of those huge, overwhelming conferences. I wouldn’t get lost in a crowd or just be one in a number. I could really sit down and learn fantastic information that would help me be a better blogger and entrepreneur. And you know what? They were right.
September 10-12 in Baltimore, MD it went down at the beautiful Marriott Waterfront. I was blessed to be picked to volunteer with the conference this year, and I am so happy that I did. The volunteer team was fantastic! My only regret is that because the conference was local for me, I still had to run back home Thursday afternoon and I could not return until after Johanna’s coop class on Friday, so I missed some prime learning and socializing time.

2015-09-18_02.41.59This year’s theme was ‘Building Your Own Empire’. There were awesome sponsor suites that included Toyota, where I spent most of my volunteer time. Everything was fantastic. The sessions, the food, the people, the swag… Everything was more than I could dream it would be. I learned a lot.

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Was it worth it? Absolutely. It was absolutely worth going. I believe that going to BYOE15 is totally making me into a better blogger. I want to do better as a blogger, not only for myself, but for you all, my audience. This isn’t my first blog, but this is the first one that I take seriously. Seriously enough that my ears were wide opening when they were having sessions on 1) how to brand yourself, 2)how to sale merchandise, 3) Being credible and consistent, and 4) How to monethize thyself. Those are just some of the lessons that I learned, and I’m growing. It started while I was there, and it has continued ever since.

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For a while I came out of my introverted shell and had some wonderful conversations. I met some inspirational people, and I even got the chance to be an inspiration.

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Oh, and did I mention the swag? Man, the swwaaggg!
Have you ever attended a blogger conference? What do you love about them? Hate about them? Did you get a chance to attend Blogalicious 2015?

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Miss Black USA 2015 Crowned in Washington, DC

I love it when women of color can stand up and say I am brilliant, I am beautiful, and I know what I want out of life! That is one of the many reasons that I support the Miss Black USA pageant and felt so blessed to be able to cover the event this past weekend.

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Miss Black USA/Sharde’ Sherelle, Founder of Concert Daily

On Sunday, August 9th at UDC Theater of Arts Building Miss Black USA 2015 was crowned in front of a sold out audience. The winner is Miss Greensboro, NC Madison Gibbs. Madison is a native to North Carolina and an alumnus of North Carolina A&T. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta and will begin her first year of law school at Howard University this week.
Miss Black USA/Johannasmama.com

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It was a gift to be able to see 50 amazing, beautiful, confident brown skinned women stand on stage to compete for the crown. They each had a platform that was dear to their heart, and they could all boast that they had done an overwhelming amount of community service. As I heard the credentials of each one, I became proud and slightly teary eyed. I could not wait to get home to tell Johanna about it and show her the photos of the new “princess”. It was yet another opportunity for me to pour into her and subtly convince her to love the skin she’s in.
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Btw, Lola Adeoye (in the white next to the newly crowned Miss Black USA) representing DC came in as 2nd runner up. Not bad at all! As for the newly crowned Madison Gibbs, she’s already off to a busy start! She’s already made an appearance on News Chanel 8 “Let’s Talk Live” Monday, and on WTTG Fox 5 Good Day DC Tuesday.
For more information on Miss Black USA, please visit www.missblackusa.org.
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Up Your Selfie Game with Chrisette Michele at the Pose ‘N Post Symposium

IMG_6154Many of you know Chrisette Michele because of her awesome music, but did you know that she is also a genius at social media? She has a massive, organically grown following, her selfie game is flawless, and she wants to let you in on the secret of just how she does it this April during her Pose ‘N Post Symposium.

Chrisette Michele is creating a non-judgemental inviting environment where women can come together to discuss and listen to great influencers success stories and network with other bloggers, vloggers, influencers and brands in their communities.

Michele is bringing out some of the top beauty and marketing YouTubers and IG royalty, to share their incredible climb up the social media ladder, and their ideas on fashion, hair and everything feminine.

Pose 'N Post PromoWhat’s Included:
You can expect a cocktail hour with free drinks and pink snacks, and a panel discussion with YouTube’s Ambrosia Malborough, an Arizona based Jewelry Designer and an Advocate of all things Beauty and Style; and Beauty and style blogger Lover4fashion.

Each attendee will walk away with not only new inspiration but also empowerment towards building their brands. With sponsors such as The Mane Choice, Lamik Beauty, Abode Candles, Voga Italia Wines and Kamasutra Vodka, this event is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who attend.

Subjects that will be covered:

  • Natural Hair in the professional Environment
  • a Selfie Class and App Editing 101
  • YouTube growth success and Building a Positive Social Media Community

Being a college attendee herself, from Long Islands Five Towns College, Chrisette Michele and sponsors will donate a portion of the ticket sales to 8 book and wardrobe scholarships for young women beginning their
college journey. By aiding young women towards using the skills they learn and enhancing upon them, Pose ‘N
Post will help eager young professionals to reach the audience they want and entice new followers and clientele towards their dream business.

Click here to purchase your tickets. Use Discount Code: FASH50 for 50% off. Diamond Ticket holders* will receive a very special gift bag full of goodies from Chrisette Michele at the end of each evening. This gift bag is in addition to the PNP gift bag all attendees will receive.

*A Diamond Ticket holder is anyone who purchased a ticket at the $90 price.

Johanna’s Mama will be covering the event at the DC location. If you will be there please let me know below, on twitter, or on fb. I would love to meet you!

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