Author Archives: Brianna Hoffman

3 gender-neutral party ideas

It's a classic dilemma: You want to throw the perfect birthday for your son or daughter, but you don't want to limit their guest list by picking something entirely gender-specific. Still, how does one go about resolving this problem when their children are, more likely than not, clambering for superhero- or princess-themed parties? Never fear: Check out these three ideas for perfect birthday parties that boys and girls alike are sure to love.

1. Pool party
If you have a child with a summer birthday, be thankful. In addition to not having to coordinate the party scheduling around school, sports and extracurriculars, you also have access to one of the best gender-neutral party ideas. The pool party is timeless in that the venue and the activity are one and the same. Many public pools allow for day rentals to celebrate birthdays, and some even have catering options to make your life simpler. All you have to do is get everyone there, and that shouldn't be very hard once they see these shark mask birthday invitations!

2. Pizza party
If there's anything that all kids can agree on, it's liking pizza. That's probably why it's so commonly featured on the menu at birthday parties. It can be more than just an entree, though. A pizza-themed birthday party is fun, wholesome and perfect for either boys or girls.Try having a make-your-own-pizza party either at your home or at your local pizzeria. All you'll need to purchase is premade dough, sauce, cheese and a variety of toppings. Make a note: You may want to contact the parents of each of your guests prior to shopping so you can inquire as to whether or not any of the children have food allergies. Have your guests over for some games and socializing, and then allow everyone to design their own personal pizza with the ingredients provided. We recommend doing the prep outside, if possible, to reduce mess. Also, to make the planning even simpler, check out these perfect pizza party birthday invitations.

3. Zoo party
This is particularly doable in the summertime, when the weather is warm and the kids are out of school. A zoo party offers a destination that both boys and girls can be excited about while also eliminating the need to plan out additional activities. If you are going to throw a zoo party, call in advance to ensure that you can rent space or picnic tables to eat cake. Also, have a few other parents come along with you in order to ensure the safety of the children.

3 non-boring birthday ideas

Your child's birthday party only happens once a year, so you're going to want to ensure that it's one to remember. The best way to make sure that your party is a success for your child, their guests and you is to pick a theme that differentiates your party from the norm. Of course, this is somewhat easier said than done. Luckily for you, we've got three great birthday party themes with the invitations to match. Check out our ideas for birthday celebrations that are sure to leave all in attendance waiting for next year's bash:

Night owl party
Being able to stay up late is a treat for children, so combining that with a birthday celebration is a clear victory. Switch things up by hosting a night owl party this year, in which you have your guests arrive in the evening for games, movies, cake and ice cream and, ultimately, a slumber party. The brilliance of this idea is that you don't actually need to deviate much from how you'd plan a normal birthday party. All the adaptation necessary on your end is clearing your schedule for an evening and making sure that your guests arrive with everything that they need to make it comfortably through the night. If you choose to go with this idea, try sending out our night owl birthday invitations to set the tone!

Campout party
The night owl party is a ton of fun, but can be expanded upon wonderfully as a camping party if the weather allows for it. Of course, if you're dealing with younger children, you'll want to keep things from getting particularly rugged, so a backyard campout should do perfectly. Invite guests over with our campfire tales invitations for a night of cake, s'mores, ghost stories and hot cocoa culminating in an old-fashioned backyard campout. If possible, check the weather report and try to plan for a night with relatively clear skies. Having the ability to see the stars not only provides you with a perfect impromptu activity for the kids, but also makes the celebration that much more memorable.

Bowling party
Throw your child a party they're sure to love by taking them and their friends to the local bowling alley for a night of strikes, spares and celebration. Many bowling alleys offer patrons the option to rent out part or all of the facility for a birthday party, which allows you to control the music and atmosphere. Also, you may want to try cosmic bowling, where the lights are dimmed and black light  objects glow throughout the building, to add an exciting touch to the game. Order some pizzas and bring cake with you for a post-game meal, and make sure to have a camera to get pictures of your child and all of their friends. Perhaps the single nicest aspect of throwing a bowling alley party (for parents, at least) is that you get to leave the mess that you make there instead of spending the next day cleaning your home. Try our All Strikes Birthday Invitations which come in two different color schemes for boys and girls, respectively.

You can use vacation time to take your Christmas card photos.

Taking your holiday card photos while on vacation

While Christmas cards are meant to be sent around, well, Christmas, you don't have to take your family's photo during the winter. In fact, any time of year is fair game for posing in your favorite red-and-green attire (or any outfit at all, really). You can even take a moment out of your family vacation this summer to snap a few shots. Of course, if you want to get your Christmas card pics out of the way while lounging on the beach, you should use a few of these tips:

Pick a spot
Once you've been on your vacation for a day or so, scope out a good backdrop for your family photo. It could be the beach, under that old tree or in front of your hotel, it's up to you! Ideally, the location of your photo shoot will be lovely to look at and free of passersby – you don't want a random pedestrian photobombing your Christmas card!

Set a time
Avoid adding stress to your hiatus by planning when you'll take your picture. You don't want to be lounging at the hotel bar and suddenly be flung into a photo! Decide which day during your trip is best for the picture and what time of day it should be taken. Avoid midafternoon, as the sun could be too overpowering for your photo. In fact, overcast days are the best for pictures. Consider planning your shoot for morning. That way, you'll have just showered and be looking your best. Let the whole family know precisely when you expect them to be on location for your shoot. 

Bring a tripod
You can hire a photographer from the area in which you're vacationing to take your picture, or you can do it yourself. If you plan on setting a timer on your camera and jumping into the shot, then bring a tripod. These devices allow you to pick a height for your camera and ensure that the shot is steady. 

Make adjustments first
If you're taking the photo, arrive to the location before everyone else does. This will give you time to set up your tripod and correct the settings on your camera. Your family will appreciate a smooth and quick photo shoot because they'll likely want to get back to relaxing. Test your camera's lighting and other settings by taking a few test shots and seeing how they look. 

Talk about the trip
When you do finally send your Christmas card, be sure to mention your wonderful vacation in your note. That way, friends and family who receive the card will get both a visual and textual look at your time away.