I am still in utter shock that Joey is TWO! I remember the day we found out I was pregnant, the day we brought her home, the day she took her first steps…I remember it all like it was yesterday. This year I was entirely too busy to host a big party myself so I reached out to my dear friend Easter (who is actually a fine jewelry designer) from Easter Ahn Design to help plan a party for our very own Mousketeer. We had the amazing photographer, Jeffery Cho take priceless photographs of the day.
This party was inspired from Joey’s love of Disneyland. Growing up I went to Disneyland with my family and absolutely fell in love with the thrill of it all. I knew when I had kids I wanted them to experience the same joy I felt when visiting the park…and Joey absolutely loves visiting! As Walt once said “If you can dream it you can do it”; so we did it! We created our very own Joeyland!
Location: We transformed the new E2Beauty lounge into Joeyland. It was the perfect venue for our party. They just opened their new salon location in Orange County. If you’re ever looking for hair or makeup for an event, go with them! They did my hair and make up for almost every big event in my life including my wedding.
Photobooth: Our friends at Third Eye Photobooth graciously came out and snapped photos for us for the day! If you’ve never been to a party with them you are seriously missing out!
Party Favors: If you remember seeing my Instagram stories from Joey’s birthday I am a realistic gift giver. I wanted to give each child something they would actually use so we got for all the kids custom name shirts from Jean and June. It was so fun seeing how excited each kid was when they got their own shirts to match Joey. Jean and June have the most softest organic tees so go check them out!
Ice cream: I used to live next to a Scoops ice cream in LA and when I moved I was incredibly sad because they had my favorite flavors. When I realized they opened up one in Orange County (Scoops OC), right next door to the party venue, I was absolutely thrilled. It was a no brainer that we had to try them out and I don’t regret it for a minute. Joey may have ate a bit too much gelato that day but who’s really counting? I asked them to create a special flavor for us, inspired by Disneyland’s Pineapple Dole Whip, and they created the most delicious Pineapple Coconut ice cream! Their Brown Bread flavor is one of their signatures. You need to try it if you’re ever in SoCal!
Florist: As usual I cannot throw a party without my friend Hanna at Echo Floral. She helped put so many small, feminine touches on the party. She took the colors Easter used for the party and created the most perfect floral arrangements. I can just imagine these being planted at the Disneyland parks. Aren’t they gorgeous?
Food: If you follow me you know I have a real love for Wholefoods! So naturally, I had to have them make some delicious food and treats for the party. We opted for beautiful simple cakes and pastries for dessert. These cakes were seriously some of the most delicious, mouthwatering cakes I have ever had! One of the great things about all Whole Foods catering is that they never use artificial coloring or ingredients! Joey loved poking her fingers in the cake haha!
Cookies: Joeyland could not have been complete without cookies! Sweetleemade & Sweets by Keeks took my cookie dreams and ran with it! Have you ever seen a cuter cookie? I haven’t! I don’t know anyone else who makes the best custom made desserts like these two. If you’re looking for cakes, cookies, macarons, or whatever desserts for your event, ask them! Thank you ladies!
We also put together a cookie decorating station for each guest to put their Disney imagination to work! Let me tell you we had some amazing decorators in the house that day! I think Joey ate most of the sprinkles though.
Graphic Design: When Easter and I first started brainstorming for this party we wanted to give the guests a true Joeyland experience. We teamed up with Kim Estoesta to create custom signs for each station, menus, props and placemats. When I first walked into the party these signs took my breath away! It was like I was really in a whole new world (see what I did there?).
Balloon art and cotton candy: What is Joeyland without balloons and cotton candy? Well, it’s not Joeyland. Her Balloon Art took Joeyland to the next level with the most amazing balloon art and custom cotton candy! I wish you could all taste her cotton candy because you’d never want anything else!
I wish so badly I could have invited each and every one of you to Joeyland! It truly was the most magical place on Earth. But until Allen let’s me open Joeyland up for good I will just have to share my memories of the day with you.
Custom built booths and backdrops: Easter wanted to have booths like how it would look like at Disneyland so she asked Iron Grace Rentals to custom build these amazing pieces for us. I was absolutely shocked. They came in to install, breakdown, and take everything with them at the end of the party as well. Wow.
All printed goods: Everything including the popcorn containers, signs and posters, menu maps and the incredible photo booth backdrop were all printed by Avant Print Media.
I’m so excited to finally share with you details from our recent Playdate Project! Thanks to our generous donors and friends, we were able to launch our first ever Playdate Project last year right before the winter holidays.
The idea behind the Playdate Project came from me wanting to host a fun playdate event for families to come and enjoy themselves and relax at the same time giving back to a local organization, in this case we wanted to highlight Olive Crest an non-profit org that is dedicated to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at-risk children, and to preserving the family. I first heard about them from a friend who said they were in process of adopting a child through Olive Crest. As I learned more about them, I found out that they have served our 100,000 at-risk children and families and serves over 1000 in Orange County, CA alone. Because they are run through the support of community donors and volunteers, we decided to dedicate this first Playdate Project to Olive Crest and give 100% of all Playdate Project ticket sales towards them. We held it at FLDWRK in Fullerton, CA on December 17, 2017.
Our friend Kyle from Olive Crest came to receive all the donated toys that our guests generously donated as well and also answer any questions about Olive Crest. If you are interested in learning more about donating towards Olive Crest or even foster/adopt through them, go to their website at olivecrest.org.
Juice Box Media came and documented everything on video. Watch what they put together below!
Happily Ever Etched made beautiful laser-cut signs for us including this amazing Playdate Project sign!
Amy and Hanna set up this awesome nursing and diaper changing room!
Gathre Mats donated these fun AJJ play mats. If you’re ever looking mats that will protect your floors from feeding your baby or doing messy crafts or even for picnicking, check them out. We love their mats! Haba USA also donated to the kids play area some wooden toys.
Our favorite Nugget Comfort donated a couple sets of their foam couches and they were a big hit with the kids!
Wild Child Party came and put together this incredible balloon installation. I will never know how they put all those balloons together like that.
What’s a party without a fun photo booth right? Third Eye Photo booth came and set up a really fun station for all of us.
Miss DJ Bliss was there to set the mood with some awesome beats.
Can you believe this? There’s a nail salon on wheels! It was so fun having the Nail Truck. They generously donated to give any willing kid manicures so of course Joey got one.
Art Camp LA came and set up a really fun arts & crafts table. Because it was near the winter holidays, the craft project was creating holiday wreaths! They have these really fun craft boxes that are filled with art project material so you can make crafts at home without having to go buy everything. Go check them out!
Speaking of wreaths, ReKindle Creative came and set up a wreath making station. They provided all the greens, ribbons, and hardware to make some beautiful wreaths. It was so fun seeing almost everyone walk home with at least one handmade wreath!
Sweetleemade Desserts brought a whole gorgeous cookie making station and that kept most of the kids busy. They also made the cutest unicorn cake pops that went into our VIP bags. If you’re in Southern California and are looking for a custom made cake or any type of desserts really for a party, wedding, whatever, do yourself a favor and book Sweetleemade!
Chasing Linen came and illustrated beautiful custom portraits during the entire event. They were the perfect souvenirs to take home! If you’re ever looking for live art, illustrations or custom stationery, check out Chasing Linen!
Pique Tea kept us hydrated with a tea tasting station and also handed out delicious take-home tea samples to all of our guests.
Juice Plus donated yummy and healthy fruit chewable which were Joey’s favorite!
Whole Foods Market San Francisco donated adorable reusable market bags and also connected us with local brands including Alter Eco who donated chocolates and Back to the Roots who donated cereal and really cool gardening kits as raffle prizes. Peanut also part of the swag bag. If you don’t know who Peanut is, check them out. They’re a really cool app for moms that help you connect with other moms in your area based on common interests! Every mom who came also received an awesome fanny pack filled with hand sanitizers from The Honest Company. Passion Planner, Sweetlee Made, Art Camp LA, and Chasing Linen were also part of the VIP gift bags. Spa lé La, a spa for parents with complimentary on-site child care gave out a gift certificate to a lucky winner. Our favorite dolls, Cuddle + Kind, who is all about giving back donated some adorable dolls for some lucky winners.
Naptime With Joey made an appearance. 😉
As well as Joey + Tot!
Magic Kingdom Mamas came with their adorable kids. They run an awesome blog and Instagram that provides fun tips for families visiting Disneyland Resort in California!
My sweet Guatemalan-Korean friend Sara and her darling Sofia dropped by. Follow Sara on Instagram!
My favorite wedding blogger of all time Jen came with her beautiful family. We go way back when I used to be featured on her blog when I used to work as a wedding photographer. If you’re looking for gorgeous wedding inspiration, GO CHECK OUT HER BLOG.
Beautiful Jen Chae came with her adorable family. She is beauty/makeup guru and is expecting her 2nd baby! Find her on Instagram and YouTube!
I met Lily at a screening for Disney’s Moana a couple years ago and we’ve been friends since. She has the most beautiful family and has the best costume/makeup posts. Follow her on Instagram and on her blog!
My sweet friend Mai and her darling Zooey showed up in style. Go check out Zooey on Instagram for fashion inspiration and Mai on Instagram!
My friend Yolanda came with her insanely adorable Arielle. Check out her Instagram to see the best mommy-daughter matching outfits!
Last but not least, all of these gorgeous photos were taken by my dear friend Sunny. Do yourself a favor and check out her beautiful work at Instagram and her blog. She is one of the most kindest most generous friend I know. Thank you so much Sunny for taking the time to take these lovely photos right after Greyson was born!!
We’re forever grateful for all of the people who donated their time, money, services and goods to making this first Playdate Project happen. Thank to all of our guests who made it that day. We really hope you got to make some fun family memories as well as share in part of “giving back” to Olive Crest. Our family really feels like we did nothing in comparison to everyone’s generosity. We feel very strongly that we were given this platform to share love and also to give back to our community and so we will try our best to do more of these events. We hope The Playdate Project will happen every year for a very long time so we can continue to highlight many more organizations that are positively impacting our local communities. If you are interested in collaborating for our next Playdate Project as a donor/vendor, please email us at hello[at]lauraiz.com! Let’s chat!
Have you guys finished your holiday gift shopping? Since so many of you have been asking what our current favorite things are, I thought I’d post them here to give you some gift ideas! Most of these items are favorite things of Joey who is currently almost 20 months old. I’ve also added a couple things for parents. 🙂
NAPTIME WITH JOEY BOOK:
I mean, c’mon. I have to throw this one in there because it’s kiiinda my book haha! No but actually I’ve been hearing they’ve been great gifts for expecting parents, grandparents, kids (they love the pictures and playing I-spy with them) and also for white elephant gift exchanges. You can buy them at most bookstores worldwide as well as through the links below:
OK, who wouldn’t want this? Joey LOVES music and singing so this was such a great thing to have especially when we went camping recently and she entertained everyone with Bruno Mars songs. Allen and I are big karaoke fans so it’s only natural that Joey inherited the same passion as well.
This toy was incredibly entertaining for Joey especially right after she turned one. We would take it everywhere (we still do!) on long car rides and airplane trips. These days, she been able to actually put the buckles together by color when she wasn’t able to do that. What I do from time to time is hide the toy for about a month and then bring it back so that it’s kinda like “new” to her again. I’ve watched her play with it in the car for about 20 minutes straight once! Trust me, if you’re looking for a “helpful” kid-friendly gift to give, GIVE THIS TOY.
UNCLE PAULS’ PLAYDESK: (for those who live in Southern California only)
I asked our dear friend who can build all kinds of amazing wooden structures to make us a play desk for Joey. This is what we came up with! There’s a magnetic board on it as well as a little cubby hole. The great thing about this is you can add whatever you want to it. Lately Joey loves to color with crayons so we just set up her paper and crayons on this desk so she could mark it up any way she wants. You can read my other blog post about how to order one by clicking here.
Joey loves watching me put on makeup and when she started reaching for my brushes and wanting to play with my makeup, I looked up pretend makeup toys and found this. I got it for our flight to San Francisco and it entertained her for a good 30 minutes! Some of my friends said that they bought it for their toddler for trips as well and that they it was the perfect entertainment for their kids too!
So many of you have asked about these flashcards that we’ve been going thru with Joey every day. We love them! What I love about these are the pictures are very simple and clear to identify. It says that it is from ages 1 and up but we started around 15 months because she was still chewing on everything. Mudpuppy who makes these cards also make other things like puzzles which Joey also loves to play with and also other types of cards.
I can’t say enough how much I love our Nugget Comfort. We have a play room for Joey where she likes to play with her toys, read books and lounge around and we had been looking for something just like this Nugget Comfort. It’s not only super comfortable to sit and lay on, you can move it around as it comes in four pieces. If you go to their website, you can see all the different ways you can set it up.
Joey is so interested in markers, crayons and pens but the bad thing about that is she obviously doesn’t know how to color in between lines and so it goes everywhere! She recently marked up our leather couch with a Sharpie! One of our dear fans gave us this at one of our book signings and Joey has been loving it. Best thing about it is, there is no ink involved. Only water! This was also something we brought with us on air plane rides and also when we go on playdates to someone’s house. The way it works is you fill the pen with water and you start coloring the pages and the drawings magically appear!
We have several of these now because we realized Joey can sit for a pretty long time by herself just putting these puzzles together. I couldn’t believe how quickly she learned how to put it together on her own without my help. It’s pretty amazing how kids absorb so much knowledge so quickly on their own. We love gifting this to our friends who have kids because it’s not messy or hard to clean up. I think it totally beats iPad sorting games!
This gift is obviously for the mamas and the papas. This is my go-to camera for all video related things. If you’ve seen the recent “Banana Talk” video on my Instagram, that was shot with this camera. I love that it auto-focuses and that it has a flip screen so that you can record in selfie-mode. This also has wi-fi tethering so that you can download the images and videos you shot right on your phone! This would make a great gift to someone who loves to take photos and videos all the time but don’t want to carry a big dSLR around all the time.
If you’ve been following my posts Instagram, you’ll know that I LOVE Easter Ahn’s jewelry line. I wear my custom Joey necklace, bracelet and earrings everyday. She also designed our wedding rings. I’m obviously a big fan of her work. Her pieces make the perfect gifts for your loved ones because they’re high quality real gold (comes in White, Yellow and Rose), they’ll last forever and you can personalize them with a name or initial(s)! Easter also does custom designs for all types of jewelry and can create gorgeous engagement/wedding rings.
If you’ve seen the videos of Joey on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know that Joey is such a curious gal these days, getting her hands on anything she can grab! And while she loves to play with her traditional toys, I thought it would be fun to get creative with some materials we had around the house. She already loves to go in the kitchen and pull down my hanging kitchen towels so I decided to go with fabric for this sensory activity.
I brought out a bunch of leftover fabric I had from her costumes for her to touch and feel. There were different textures from rough denim to soft cotton and scratchy sequin. Watching her notice the different colors, materials, and patterns on each piece of fabric was really entertaining. It was great to see her grab at the fabric, practicing her fine motor skills and strengthening her itty bitty hands. It seemed Jo loved the shiny sequin the most. 🙂
I loved how simple this sensory activity was. I forget how exciting it can be for babies to feel different textures because it’s all so new to them! This will definitely be an exercise to keep continuing with Jo!
Joey’s play suit by Rags to Raches: http://ragstoraches.com
Play mat by Cream Haus USA https://www.creamhaus.us
About Laura Iz
Hi, I'm Laura Izumikawa. I'm a stay-at-home-working-mama to Joey and wife to the funniest guy I know. My photos of my napping daughter dressed up as pop culture icons became viral one day and now I blog about our lives because it turns out, people want to know more about us which is totally crazy to me! Thanks for visiting!
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