Let me count the ways I’ve become the parent I never thought I’d be: (1) I bribe my daughter, Hazel, with strawberry lollipops, sometimes strawberry lollipops dipped in chocolate milkshakes. (2) I let her watch Disney movies so I can eat sushi and work, and by work, I mean online shop. (3) I talk about pre-school admissions and library hours as if they’re intense international affairs. (4) I love my mom friends, my mom jeans, and my mom-juice (wink).
So obviously I got into the competitive Birthday Party game. Because, FUN. But having (5) started following just about every Hollywood mom on Instagram since Hazel was born, I was looking for something less family brunch and more Chrissy Teigen constructing a petting zoo party in her backyard for Luna. Celebrity moms: They may be just like us, but their children's celebrations seem to exist in a different stratosphere.
For Hazel's second birthday, I invited 60 people to our small Brooklyn apartment and, with a few weeks until the big 2, started to plan. We needed creative, brilliant, big ideas. So I channeled Gwen Stefani and Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba—and what I mean by channeled is I stole all their party tricks and found budget-friendly angles in. “Hazelfest” was a hit! She and her friends danced and sang and got silly and messy, and no one had a meltdown (including me!). Follow my lead. Check out my finds. Here’s how to throw a kid’s birthday party that is anything but basic.
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Celeb Moms love Georgetown Cupcakes. Sasha Obama had a birthday party there. Suri Cruise’s 10th birthday was there. Bethenny Frankel orders them for Brynn’s birthday parties. The designer cupcakes–which are as scrumptious as they are stunning–are available for delivery nationwide. Another charming alternative is to make a Rice Krispies cake inspired by Rice Krispies’ treat artist Jessica Siskin. Her book, Treat Yourself!, just hit the shelves. She makes outrageous DIY-cakes seem totally doable even for non-bakers. Last but never least, Kelly Ripa celebrates all her kids’ birthdays with Fudgie the Whale cakes from Carvel. Can’t go wrong there!
Celeb Moms drink fancy juice. WTRMLN WTR is made with 2 simple ingredients–fresh watermelon and organic lemon. More importantly, its nicknamed “Liquid Love” and (drum roll please) Beyoncé is an investor. We stocked our fridge with this drinkable bliss, which our guests, big and small, inhaled like the secret to life. It’s a crowd pleaser for everyone, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Sofia Vergara. If you want to keep a little minibar away from the mini-people, these Moët & Chandon “Minis” are about as festive as it gets, and Kate Hudson and Viola Davis are admittedly thirsty fans.
Celeb Moms love good designs. This super-sophisticated company won’t reveal their celebrity clients, but we had to include Oeuf’s festive wall hangings–especially this gold Feminist garland–which you can splurge on for the party and never, ever take down. (That’s our plan!). Celeb Mom Jaime Pressly can attest that Pottery Barn Kids is also the perfect brand for buying new items that will make a party sparkle and then add a little something to your family room or nursery. Like this Food Truck playhouse!
Celeb Moms love Janie and Jack. Who doesn’t? Their party clothes have cache and comfort and the great sales make their snazziest merchandize available to everyone–not just Chrissy Teigen, Nake Berkus, Hilaria Baldwin, and Tia Mowry. Hazel had this jewel-toned velvety shift dress all ready to go, when an unexpectedly hot day meant a quick switch to a summer frock! Another new, cool brand coming this winter is FARMER CHIP–a kid's lifestyle line that combines farmers market lingo with super-soft cottons, resulting in earthy, I-look-cool-without-trying outfits and conversation starters.
Celeb Moms love theme parties. Do you remember Kidchella? Kimye held zero back for North West's 1st birthday, with a Coachella spin-off complete with a ferris wheel, an epic performance stage and the most incredible face-painting ever face-painted. Kidchella was not as hard to emulate as it sounds. Melissa & Doug has endless options for masks, crafts, costumes, tattoos and kid-size instruments. The brand is affordable and reliable and makes keeping up with the Kardashians actually quite effortless.
Celeb Moms love VIP status. Unless you’ve been living under a sugar cone, you’ve heard about the Museum of Ice Cream in L.A. where Celeb Moms plan the most coveted parties in town. VIP families included those of Salma Hayek, Gwen Stefani, and Gwyneth Paltrow. They just announced their next location in San Francisco, but the reality is, most of us can’t and won’t get there. (The best we can do is savor these Museum of Ice Cream chocolate bars by Compartés.) Well, why not make your home a Museum of Ice Cream of its own? Especially a healthy one?! Daily Harvest is a superfood subscription service, delivering pre-portioned smoothies and ice cream "sundaes,” among other things, directly to your door. All products come packed with superfoods, organic fruits and vegetables, and no refined sugars or preservatives. It’s available nationwide, and it’s a huge hit with Celeb Moms like Eva Amurri and Ayesha Curry. Unroll a red carpet, buy some sprinkles, and ask Grandpa to use discretion at the door.
Celeb Moms give back. One really cool thing to do is request that your guests make donations to your favorite cause rather than bring presents. If given this option, I usually donate to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. It’s an incredible organization that supports pediatric cancer research and truly saves lives. Celebrity parents like Brooke Shields, Paul Rudd, and Mario Batali are huge supporters. Besides Cookies For Kids, I personally request that friends donate to The ALS Association, in honor of Dr. James Egan, who–in his lifetime, which was cut too short—saved the lives of thousands of babies and children. Pick something that’s meaningful to you and ask your friends to donate; it will mean so much more in the end than a new plastic toy.
Celeb Moms give great swag. Every party must have a gift bag, whether it includes an Elmo sticker or hand sanitizer (The Honest Company’s smells SO GOOD). Jessica Simpson’s son, Ace Knute Johnson, celebrated his 4th Birthday Party with My 1st Years toy sacks, and each sack was monogrammed with a kid’s name. That's a big score for a little one! My 1st Years is actually a super-affordable company that oozes with star power. Prince George and Luna Legend are both groupies. For our giveaways, we filled reusable lunch-bags with Hazel’s favorite snacks like Kind Fruit Bites and Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter + Pretzels and Annie’s White Cheddar Popcorn. Whatever bags were left, we brought to a Puerto Rico relief center.