Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Birthday Party That Never Happened


Did you notice it's October?  Two months after the kid's birthday and eight months after we would normally have this conversation?

*taps mic*


One of the biggest events on the island has come and gone with no word... no celebration... no annual blog parade of party planning, goodies or excitement.

My kid turned 11.  We didn't have a party.

Seriously, how does that happen on this here island dedicated to all things party planning?  How did the planner NOT have a party for her daughter's birthday?  Her final birthday before middle school at that.

Well, it's a long story and I'll start with saying that we did plan for a party.  An awesome party.  A farewell party of epic proportions too.  The kid had one request: she wanted this to be her first sleepover birthday party.  She gave me freedom to plan and freedom to do whatever I felt would make for a good time.  She finally said it.

"I trust you, mom.  Everything you do for me is great."

Now, y'all know this was epic. There was no random theme... no crazy challenges or colors... just *exhales adoringly* do whatever I wanted.  I thought about it for a long time.  With my freedom to plan and to do whatever, I had no reason to stress.  It was all on me.  I decided to proceed with a Magic of Friendship theme.  Unicorns and rainbows, stars and glitter, watercolor pastels... this was going to be an awesome party.

With the theme, I designed the invitations.

First, the overnight guests were OFFICIALLY invited as members of the Farewell Squad!  In addition to the Farewell Squad sleepover, we planned to have family and friends over for a farewell BBQ at a friend's AirBnB property.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Green Eggs and Ham Baby Shower

It is very difficult to sever ties after the planning of a major life event like a wedding. In the case of Faye and her big day, I handled a lot of tasks before the wedding (graphics design, vendor recommendations, advice on daily tasks, etc.); we spent a lot of time pulling her wedding together.  As a matter of fact, you may recall her wedding from June 2015 (read more here).

Faye's married name is Green.  Everything on her social media accounts is #teamGreen or #Gmen or #theGreenteam... you get the point, right?  When it was time to plan her shower, her family decided on a Green Eggs and Ham theme.  I didn't receive the Facebook invite until the week of but I reached out and offered support.  I was asked to provide favors and anything I could spare for decor.

Islanders, I wasn't sure of the theme but I slept on it and woke with some ideas.  I said.  I wasn't sure.  NOT that I didn't like it.  OR that it wasn't great... I just have a love-hate relationship with out-of-the-box events.  I love when people are unique and different and innovative but -- dang!  I also... can appreciate and [admit that I often times...] just long for a typical blue baby shower... I feel like sometimes some people just do the most.  Whatever happened to simpler times?... said NO event planner ever. BUT.  Well, still.

Anyhoo, once I realized my angle for the designs, I became excited and I got to work.  I only had a few days after all.  I am super excited to share the outcome so, here goes!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Summer 2017 Event Marathon

If you follow me on Instagram, you may recognize the above photo from my story.  If you still don't follow me, did you know you're missing out on a DAILY dose of Island happenings?  Anyhoo, I posted the above photo because my story was crazy in the weeks leading up to the big move.  All of those events on top of finalizing the moving company pickup, and preparing for school scheduled to start August 10th made me move at lightning speed!

It was crazy, I was a crafting machine.  I was on FIRE!  Things were just coming together effortlessly.  We will start with the baby shower client.  It was such a unique theme and the post will include some FREE printables.  Come back tomorrow for more!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

5 Lessons for Surviving A Big Move

Hi and bye, beloved Islanders.

That's right.  Hi because we haven't chatted in quite awhile.  Bye because, well, I am coming to you from our new place... in a new state... NOT where you're used to seeing me.

I know.  My family.  My littles.  My friends.  My businesses.  Home staging.  Event planning.  Graphics.  Moves.  Tabitha, you were making moves.

No, seriously.  You guys probably didn't go all the way there but, dammit.  I did!  I didn't want to move.  I avoided it for over a year.  He got a new job.  He went away for training.  He received an assigned location.  It was nearly 1,000 miles away from home.  Home.  What good is home if you're not with the ones you love?  He hoped we would relocate.  I refused.  We stayed, the kid and I that is.  The kid completed fifth grade with bi-monthly visits from him.  We rented out the big house.  We continued to rent the investment townhouse.  I moved into another townhouse and there, I made a beautiful home while also staging the home for sale.  After a year of consideration and emotional reconstruction (and begging and pleading from him), I agreed to relocate.

I decided to move.  Away.  From everyone I loved.

I decided to move.  Away.  To do what I believed to be best for my family.  Most importantly, best for me.

Of course a move wouldn't be complete without a marathon of events.  We'll cover those in the next few posts.  Today, let's just recover from the news of the big move (as we like to call it). I had to purge about 75% of my belongings.  I loaded my garage with everything I thought I could part with... then, I opened my doors and allowed neighbors to come and take things off of my walls and to drag furniture out my home... at no cost.  It was a lot.  It was stressful.  It was bitter... burned like shots of hot sauce.  It was bitter alright... but it was sweet.  I was parting with things I bought to furnish our 'forever home' and I loved every piece - the uniqueness, the beauty, the story behind the hunt to find it.  I was stressed.  I was scared.  I was worried.  I was also learning important lessons.

1.  Never say forever.  Things come and go.  You never know where life will take you.  NEVER say forever.  In reference to a person, place, or thing.

2.  There's great reward in the art of removal.  For me, clutter removal was freeing.  If I didn't use it in a year, I wouldn't miss it.  I could always buy new if/when I needed an item.

3.  Learn to accept help.  I tried to do it all alone.  I realized I needed my support.  They knew it and they didn't judge me for waiting until the last minute to ask for it.  Y'all are the real MVPs.

4.  Appreciate your circle.  Members of my inner circle were worth their weight in gold. No, platinum; they were worth their weight in platinum.  I cried, I shut down, I disappeared, I bought new stuff when I was downsizing.  My circle rode the crazy train with me no matter the stop at which I needed them to meet me.

5.  Good coffee is critical.  Yep, coffee is a requirement.  Food... eh, I guess.  Coffee?! I will snatch your eyeball from its socket and use it to play jacks if you THINK of coming between me and my coffee.

There were other lessons... hard lessons.  I said goodbye to my beloved fur baby on the journey.  We'll have that moment too.  I just can't bring myself to open those emotions yet.  Soon... but not yet.  For now, if you know me, you know my BIG move was a marathon of busy, mixed with a bit of LOL, some heartfelt moments, drama, and more.  I'll share the Instagram story from the journey, complete with all 10 emotional stops on the farewell tour.

Stay tuned,

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Surprise Vow Renewal

For her birthday, Melina's mom was given tickets to a play.  The event was hosted in NJ and her daughter also included a promise of glam for the day - hair, nails, lashes, the works!   As the day approached, Lucy was told the tickets included VIP access to the event which offered photo-ops and access to attend an all-white party.  The couple headed to NJ for the event and, when they arrived for the party, they were greeted by their children.  Their 4 daughters were dressed in matching dresses.

Mrs. Lucy's husband was guided by his brother to the ceremony site.

All of their family and friends showed up for the ceremony.  Talk about surprised.  The couple was thrilled!

I drove to NJ.  I brought my kid.  I arrived early.  I was supposed to take pictures during the ceremony.  I was supposed to be at the ceremony.


On the ride to NJ, Melina called and told me she set it up and everything looked good.  She wanted me to stop by and check it out before heading to the ceremony site.  I arrived onsite at the reception venue.  It was so nice but I had some concerns.  I needed to make some changes.  Melina arrived.  She was panicked.  On the way, the cake was damaged and needed some TLC.  We only had 15 minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to start and so many things that needed to get done.  Then, I said it,

"Go.  I'll set-up.  This needs to be right and done on time.  I'll stay.... it's okay."

She hated that she had to leave.  She hated that I wouldn't be there.  I was in the zone.  Munch and I worked.  We finished with enough time for Munch to change and get her hair done.  As I returned to my car to add a little makeup, mother of the groom tapped on my window and asked a question.  That was my sign.  The ceremony was over and our guests were arriving.

They entered the space and Mrs. Lucy locked eyes with me.  She was so surprised.  She was so excited.  She was -- happy.

Did you see her face light up when she saw me?  She ran over to me and gave the biggest hug.  She was SO happy everyone she loved was in the building for such a special occasion.  The photobooth was a crowd favorite for guests of all ages.

The space was beautiful.  Ambient lighting, tufted white couches, chic striped walls -- the decor was on point.

My favorite moment at the reception was when the dances started.  It started with Mrs. Lucy dancing with her son, Kenny.

After a few minutes, each of her children had a few moments to dance with her.  Then, it was her grandchildren who danced with her and lastly, her brothers.  Lucy spun into the arms of the people who were closest to her.  It was such a beautiful moment.

Happy anniversary, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  May God continue to bless your union!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Another Country Heard From

Oh.  Hi there.  Have we met?

I think you might know me.  I mean, I might look familiar.  Hi, I'm Tabby.  Ya know, the person who used to reside here on the most fabulous island on the internet... the person who used to love to share and to bargain hunt and to check in and to chat... and -- and.  There's nothing I can say; I fell off the face of the Earth.

My dad used to borrow a saying from his grandmother when things like this happened.  He would say, "isn't this another country heard from..."  Islanders, I am that other country and today is when you're hearing from me.  I am here.   I repeat:  I am still here.  I am surviving.  It's been crazy but I'm not going to complain.  I still have SO much to share.

We need to talk about the good and the bad (my dog, my kid, my travels, my summer, my crafts, parties, pretties, presents and more)!

I will reduce my post frequency from what we used to do while I figure things out but I will get back to posting more often than I have lately.  This isn't bye, it's a 'we'll talk soon.'

Friday, June 23, 2017

So This Happened: Straight Outta Fifth Grade

Howdy, Islanders!

We spoke about a lot of the graduation details.  I mentioned one of her gift bags were filled with t-shirts.
One of the shirts I had made included a popular logo and saying that replaced Compton with Fifth Grade.

If you'd like the vendor information, feel free to check out the social media post on Instagram.

I got so many great shots, I figured I'd share the moment (and all of her big kid cuteness) with my beloved Islanders.

Additional photos can be found in the Instagram post.  I didn't have a lot of time to take a lot of pictures because it was also the last day of school and thus, the last day Munch caught the bus!

Munch presented her teacher with the pencil, a Panera gift card, and a card from us thanking him for being an awesome teacher.

The kid loved her shirt and Mr. Testman loved his gifts.  Mission accomplished for this mama :)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Munch's Fifth Grade Graduation

Throwback Thursday (TBT) to the time my kid graduated from Kindergarten.  Do you remember that post(click here to read)?  It was when I had the nerve to think she was a kid... I mean, look at her.  She CLEARLY was still a baby.  How do I know?!  What do you mean?  Look at her cheeks! Little baby teeth.  She is totally a baby.

Here's a not-so-long-ago TBT fo' yo' mind:

It happened.  She kept growing.  And growing.  Until last Thursday, when she graduated from elementary school as in she. is. going. to. middle. school.  MIDDLE SCHOOL?!

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the day as it progressed in my story.

Seriously, if you're looking for a constant Island fix, check it out.  I try to post something on the Instagram Story everyday.  To that end, I may post everyday but the behind-the-scenes deets are found only here on the island!

I spent weeks preparing for graduation.  We had the outfit planned, I picked up a few gifts, I invited those close to us... we were ready.  Right?!

We scheduled her hair appointment and she started to FEEL like she was ready with her fresh blowout and cut.

Graduation day was finally here.  We arrived to her school and we (even my juicy new nephew) were seated.

The ceremony started and Munch walked out with her escort.

She didn't know her dad was able to make it.  Islanders, if you could've seen her face light up when she saw how many people came out to support (especially Daddy), it really was a sweet moment; she couldn't hold her excitement.  With Pomp and Circumstance playing, I could barely hold back my tears; it got real for a moment. No tears.  No tears, Tabitha.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kitchen Updates: Tips for Everything Else

Hi, friends!
First, thanks for so many positive comments and feedback; it's greatly appreciated.  There were a few other tips I wanted to offer for anyone looking to have a beautiful and functioning kitchen.

1.  Update the lighting.

Every kitchen I've owned had flourescent lighting and we've always had a decorative cover.  In the case of the townhouse flip, there was a flourescent light with an outdated cover.  With everything else getting a face lift in the space, the light fixture started to take some of my focus.  We took a trip to Lowe's to shop for an affordable light fixture and found a simple one for about $30.  It included bulbs and was a cinch to install.

In the photo above, you can't see it but when the flourescent light was removed, an ugly portion of the ceiling was exposed.  Thankfully, with the light on, you couldn't tell.  I had to get creative because I didn't have time to paint the entire main living level ceilings before the showings would start.  I came up with an idea to use trim to create a 'frame' around the light fixture and to use some of the extra paint to create a focal point. 

The accent paint on the ceiling gave the illusion the light fixture was more of a statement piece while having the paint on the ceiling ensured it didn't take away from the design of the space.  I loved how it turned out so much that I've recommended it to everyone who loathes their bulky flourescent light.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Kitchen Appliances Within Your Budget

Happy Monday, Islanders!

New appliancesNew backsplash | Updated countertop Updated cabinets

We've been talking about the townhouse flip kitchen and, if you can't tell, we did a lot within our budget.  Of all the eye sores in the kitchen, the ones that cost me the most would have to be the appliances, particularly the refrigerator.

Refrigerators need to keep food chilled at a certain temperature and, as they age, they work harder to do so.  I noticed the refrigerator in the townhouse flip ran often.  Loudly.  I then became numb to it... until I noticed it ran constantly.  As we neared the time to list, I started to price out replacement appliances.  Most people would say go for the stainless steel - they're shiny and new and all the rage right now.  I, however, have owned stainless steel and they're impossible to keep clean.  fingerprints and streaks, dulling and scratches... it's all a pain when you want things to appear as shiny and new as possible.  They're also much more than the standard colors.  For the townhouse flip, I decided to price out black appliances.  I've compiled a list of 3 ways to save money on your appliances!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kitchen Backsplash: Floor and Decor to the Rescue!

New appliances | New backsplashUpdated countertop Updated cabinets

When I met Melina, I found a new home improvement store and I fell in love.  She took me to Floor & Decor and, I kid you not, it was overwhelming and awesome and -- just **exhales adoringly** love.

Floor & Decor offers affordable solutions for all of your tile and flooring needs.  

In the case of the townhouse kitchen, Melina found boxes of marble tiles on clearance.  Each tile was selling for .20 each.  They were normally $2.00 each; that's a 90% savings!!  The tiles were shades of gray, green, taupe and brown and they blended perfectly with the rustic wood-look vinyl floors. Plus, each tile was unique with its own variation of the aforementioned colors.  SOLD!  Now, I loved the marble tile (look and price) but I knew we were going to buy new black appliances and I felt we needed something to tie the earth tones of the tile with the bold black of the new appliances.  To make it work, we decided to buy a few sheets of these glass tiles:

Islander Tip: to create the insert, we cut the tile sheets down to smaller sections that were two rows wide.  Doing so saved money and effort.  Individual tiles are EXPENSIVE and the labor to adhere each one can take a lot of time.

With the glass tiles purchased, we applied them to the wall along the center portion of the backsplash.  I know what you're thinking and it looks a lot harder than it is.  I would've normally outsourced a project of this nature but, when I received a quote for a job similar in size, I was looking to spend $500!

We installed the backsplash for WAY less than HALF of that price by purchasing supplies only!  Plus, I learned how to install tile from Melina and, if you're willing to invest some sweat equity, it's much easier than you think.  Check out Youtube for some tutorials and tips.

The purpose of a backsplash is to provide visual interest and a wipe-able surface behind the appliances and kitchen workspace.  I love how we also used the backsplash to brighten the space and unify the main living level decor!

Stay tuned for more ideas and tips to affordably update your kitchen space!  We're on a roll!

The Birthday Party That Never Happened

Islanders, Did you notice it's October?  Two months after the kid's birthday and eight months after we would normally have this co...

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