Tag Archives: Louises Cakes and Supply

My Senior Prom (Part 2)

Celebrating my Senior Prom birthday with my handsome husband! Cheers to 60 years!!!

This is Part Two of a two part story of my 60th birthday party celebration in 2019.

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Dance floor ready with balloons!

The last week of party prep, Eddie was really able to help with a number of things, including completing our 50s couple look by buying a white tux jacket online! He helped get the wine and beer bought and anything else bar related. One huge item he helped with the day of the event was blowing up gold and black balloons! Boy! That was a dizzying task! We really needed to have those blown up before heading to Miami Café. Then we had to fit them into the car with everything else!!!  These balloons covered the floor in the restaurant and were the last decorations we set up for the party.

I headed down to Miami Café about 4 hours before the party ready to decorate! My prom committee – Denise and Vanessa – and later, Cristina and my daughter, Emily, joined in to help get the restaurant party ready. This included tablecloths, centerpieces and getting the photo backdrop done. We added assorted yearbooks as décor in the restaurants front windows in keeping with the theme.

Eddie arrived a few hours beforehand to set up the bar. We had agreed only to have beer and wine and a signature Tito’s cocktail. But Eddie decided to bring some bourbon from his collection and boy was that a hit! He proceeded to set up the bar displaying everything we had. Eddie played bartender for most of the night and had a blast!

Denise told me back in January she wanted to create a corsage table for my guests to choose from. Being the event planner extraordinaire that she is, she not only created wrist,  lapel corsages and boutonnières, she even put them in plastic containers. They were all so beautiful and I know it took a lot of time to pull together. This was such a special part of the party to me.

Right at 7 p.m. the guests started arriving…and what fun it was to see everyone all dressed up and really getting into the theme of the party! I found out that night, that so many of my guests did not attend their own proms, so they were really doing it up right that night. There were a few who REALLY went over the top, like my friend Chris Miller. I saw him walking in but I didn’t recognize him. In fact, I thought he was walking through the restaurant to see the owner, Luis. As he got closer to me, I realized who it was and I couldn’t stop laughing! He came dressed in full on 70s with a black rock star hair and he even dyed his beard to complete the look! Every time I look at any photo of Chris from my party I literally laugh out loud!

A close second to Chris was my friend Marie.  She made her dress out of orange, white and gray duct tape! I couldn’t tell what she was wearing until I got closer and I was completely floored at how great it looked! In the 2001, Duck Tape brand duct tape started a prom competition awarding scholarships to the best duct tape prom dress. I swear, Marie would have won had she been in high school at that time! She even wore a roll of tape as a bangle bracelet!

Luis brought out his incredible food – jerk chicken, rice and beansas the crowd grew and even added some Cuban sandwiches to the buffet. I was all over those! Everyone took full advantage of the photo backdrop and gave their best cheesy prom poses. Vanessa and Cristina served as official photographers until Cristina’s boyfriend Jerrod (a professional photographer!) arrived. I’m usually the person taking the photos so it was a little strange handing off my camera to someone else. I definitely had fun the next day looking through all the photos!

Once everyone was fed, it was time to crown the prom king and queen. My daughter, Emily, served as the MC during this portion of the party. Eddie was crowned prom king. Then I was crowned prom queen, as a few of my friends commented that the voting was fixed. Of course, there wasn’t any voting so the joke was on them! (Ha-ha…I love my friends and this is so typical!) DJ Rod quickly began playing our first dance song, Ed Sheeran’s, “Perfect.” It was at this point that I really thought I was going to cry. Everything had turned out so perfect and I was just so happy to be celebrating with so many friends and family members. As we danced, Eddie was grinning ear to ear and that made me even happier. We danced a short while together when I called everyone to join us on the dance floor, and they did…

I used my new Designs by Lolita “Sixty is Sassy” wine glass for the evening!

Sadly, my mother couldn’t be at the party because she had been sick all week. We were both disappointed but I felt like she was with me because I was able to wear a rhinestone bracelet she wore to her senior prom in 1956. I also brought along my “60 and Sassy” Lolita wine glass to use at the party because Designs by Lolita creates a wine glass for every occasion – I kid you not!

Louise’s Cake was enjoyed by everyone!  So much so that we didn’t have anything left over!!!  Emily Redmond helped with the cake and making sure everyone got a slice.  You really can’t go wrong with cakes from this great little shop in Hoover.  As I’ve said before, we get all our Zuniga-Odom special occasion cakes from this bakery.

 

I wish I could post all the photos that were taken that night.  Reliving the party through these photos always puts a huge smile on my face and brings back great memories.  My friends and family still talk about this party and I’m so glad they had a memorable time as well.  Here are a few more photos and I dare you not to smile as you go through them!

 

My Senior Prom (Part 1)

This is Part One of a two part story of my 60th birthday party celebration in 2019.

“All of your life you think 60 is ancient, and all of a sudden, you find you’re 60 and you don’t really feel that different. I feel stronger and more engaged. This is the best time of my life.” ~ Glenn Close

Last year I turned 60…

It seemed to happen so quickly too! I mean, wasn’t it just a few years ago that I was being surprised by my husband and kids with a 50th birthday party at La Brisa restaurant in Hoover? Four years prior, I had surprised my husband Eddie with a 60th birthday party at our house. It was James Bond themed but instead of Agent 007, he was Agent 060! I had a tuxedo cake and Eddie’s face superimposed on several James Bond movie posters. We had so much fun! So, as my 60th was approaching, Eddie wasn’t sure what to plan and worried he didn’t have time due to his work schedule either. I told him I would take care of it and he was clearly relieved!!!

I started thinking about a party theme quite a while ago. There was a story about a retirement home having a “senior prom” for their residents and that’s when the idea hit me…why not have a senior prom party??? I mean, when you’re 60, isn’t that when a lot of the senior discounts kick in? And on top of all that, I didn’t go to my own high school senior prom so this was my chance to have one, right?!

I floated the idea to a few friends and they all thought it was terrific! So, now I just needed to get the party planned. I got an early start, as I said. I started looking through Pinterest and trying to think creatively about how to do this. My sweet friend, Denise Koch, an event planner extraordinaire, offered help and ideas and even gave me a book to order supplies and decorations. So, I had a good start on the planning and then I just stopped. I had so much going on during the fall of 2018 and quite a number of event commitments over the first few months of 2019 that I just started running out of time. I also began thinking it was a little weird to throw my own birthday party even though my husband was fully supportive…it just felt a little odd.

That’s when my friends, Denise and Vanessa, lit a fire under me! This was January 17, 2019 and I was doubting whether I had enough time to get it all pulled together. But in true form, they started throwing out suggestions right and left and helped me set things in motion. It was too late to have the party on Saturday, Feb 16th, since my birthday is February 17th, so I decided to have it on Saturday, March 2nd. My “prom committee” agreed this was a good move.

The hardest decision was finding a venue to have my party. I didn’t need anything huge but I did want enough space for about 50 to 60 people to dance and spread out. Vanessa suggested our friend, Luis Delgado’s Miami Fusion Café in downtown Birmingham. I met with Luis and Samantha Delgado to book the date and arranged for Luis to cater the party with his delicious Caribbean style food. The restaurant had the perfect décor for my party colors too with their original black and gold art deco floors!

After securing the venue, I was able to get the invitations created and printed. I decided to do them myself at home and used my senior photo from 1976. In the invitation, I asked everyone to come to the party dressed for prom in the decade of their choice. I toyed with the idea of making it a 1970s prom, since that’s the year I graduated, but decided to leave it up to my guests to choose their preferred decade and it proved to be a good move!

For music, I wanted a DJ so we could have an array of music across the decades and allow people to make requests. Vanessa put me in touch with DJ Rod who played at Fiesta the year before. He was wonderful to work with and really provided the perfect soundtrack for the party. I added a few “prom” songs from the decades which he weaved into his set and it was great for dancing…and my guests DID DANCE!

At this point, it was Feb 20th – a week and a half before the party, and I didn’t have any idea what I was going to wear. While I graduated high school in the 70s, I had more of a 1950s idea in mind for myself. But at this late date, I was going to go with whatever I could find! I got an early start on Feb 20th and figured I would head to a few thrift stores and then a consignment store I had been to years ago when my girls were in high school and college and looking for formal dresses. I just knew I would find something there but when I drove up, the place no longer existed!!! I was shocked and disappointed. So I did a quick google search and found another place nearby, but that place had gone out of business too. Now I was starting to panic. Then I remembered Second Hand Rose in Cahaba Heights and decided to try them. There wasn’t anything spectacular in the formal section. I tried on a few dresses but they just didn’t work. I was starting to give up when I looked through the regular dress rack and found “the dress!” It was a quarter length black and deep blue Terri John dress! It was the perfect fit too! I texted a photo to my daughter Emily, and she loved it!!! She added that I needed some “sparkly” shoes to go with it to complete the look.

So off I went to Belk, which was nearby, to look for shoes. I spotted some Michael Kors sparkly gold shoes with a low heel which got my attention. Then I saw the same pair in silver. The silver ones were 60% off! (Now I was excited!!) As I was admiring them, the sales lady came up to me and said “those are the last ones,” and my heart started to sink a bit. But then she added, “They’re a 9-1/2.” I looked at her in disbelief and actually said, “are you kidding me???!!!” That’s my size!!! She ran off to get the other shoe and when I tried them both on, I felt a little like Cinderella. Seriously, I almost cried when I paid for them. My outfit was complete after a roller coaster day of shopping!

My focus shifted to making sure I had all the right party decorations and the perfect cake. I picked up a number of things from Dollar Tree, Party City and thrift stores. I also ordered from Amazon. I envisioned a simple but elegant venue throughout except for the cheesy photo booth in the background! Our family always gets our special occasion cakes from Louise’s Cakes in Hoover and they always impress. I took a few photos of what I wanted and together we created my perfect elegant cake. I had two layers – the bottom was white and the top gold with the gold on top appearing to drip to the bottom. It was beautiful and chocolaty delicious!!!

Part two – Party setup and the celebration begins!

Around the World in 80 Years! – Mom Turns 80 – Part 1

Barbara Anne Zuniga – on her 80th birthday

This is a two part post about my mother’s 80th birthday party last year on June 8, 2018.  Tomorrow she turns 81 and I’ve been reliving the party, photos and memories from the preparations to the actual event.  

My mother has never had a surprise party.  She turned 80 years old last June and I thought it was way past time.  So armed with a great theme – Around the World in 80 Years – I got started surprise party planning!

Months earlier, I’d been talking about how mom had a milestone birthday coming up with my youngest sister, Kanista, and she said wanted to be in Alabama for that.  She lives in North Carolina.  That got the ball rolling and we thought – what if we could get all of “the sisters” together, along with their husbands and kids??!!  I think the last time we were all together – me, my sisters and mom – was when my nephew Adam got married in 2015.  So this became a bit of a mission with that realization!  I contacted my sister Helena who lives in Texas and she was on board, as was my sister Laurie who lives in Illinois.  Helena and Laurie put the word out to their adult kids too.  My mother’s friend, Jenine, visits each year from Colorado so I contacted her to make sure she could make her arrangements for the party.  We set the party date for Saturday, June 8 to make it easier for everyone to travel.  Mom’s actual birthday is June 6.

As the guest list started to grow, I began looking for a cozy venue to host the party.  That was probably the biggest headache.  I couldn’t get the invitations ready until I had a place, right?  And I really didn’t want a restaurant for the party because it didn’t feel cozy enough.  I remember calling one place and the lady who answered got a little snarky with me and said “well, you know it’s wedding season…”  Which translated to, “good luck finding what you want, lady!”  That’s when I decided to just have the party at my house.  Done!  On to the invitation…

Mom’s party invitation – the photo is one I found at her house in a box. She was five years old in this picture.

I’d been working at my mother’s house for several weeks helping her clean out when I found a box of old photos.  Honestly, I don’t even know if mom knew they were there.  So I secretly put the box in my car so I could go through and copy them.  That’s where I found the photo I used for the invitation.  Such a sweet picture of mother when she was five years old.  It was perfect!  I debated on getting the invitations professionally printed and then decided to do them myself at home.  In the invitation, I also requested that people send cards with a special memory about mom to me to compile.  My plan was to have a box of memories on index cards that she could pull and read throughout her 80th year.

With the venue and invitations out of the way, I needed to find a caterer.  Again…wedding season…but then I remembered a friend who had started a food delivery business and had just opened a storefront.  I gave her a call and she put me in touch with her chef – Wendy Bowman.  So, this is probably a good time to talk about the theme I chose – Around the World in 80 Years.  This was a nod to mom’s travels over her lifetime.  Born in Oneonta, Alabama, she moved around a lot growing up and eventually ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio where her parents finally settled for two years so she could complete high school.  After that, they traveled to Cambodia for my grandfather’s work and that’s where she met my dad and eventually they got married.  Throw in living in Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Maryland, Chicago and finally Alabama, you can see why the theme fit so well.  When I explained this all to Chef Wendy, she created a wonderful menu incorporating all mom’s travels.  It was wonderful!

When it came to ordering a cake, I knew it had to be special and I knew it had to come from Louise’s Cakes & Supply in Hoover, AL.  Over the years, this little shop has created some beautiful cakes for my family.  The theme was firming up with maps, suitcases, globes and flags. so I asked about getting a suitcase cake made with decals all over it showing places where mom has lived.  I did find a few examples on Pinterest and we worked together to come up with the perfect design.

I mentioned all the places my mother has lived and I wanted to find a way to showcase those places.  That’s when the idea of a directional sign came up like the one they had on MASH – the tv show!  I found arrows in the Target bargain area for weddings and decided to spray paint them tan and brown and then write the locations in red.  My husband made the stand and then we used a nail gun to attach the arrows.  It was the perfect touch and we placed it in our foyer next to an old suitcase that collected all the cards and well-wishes for mom.  I also added string flags around the foyer, hallway, dining room, family room and kitchen that I had left over from a previous event.

My friend, Sherree, who is a whiz with plants and florals, created four distinct arrangements for the party.  The orchid was for my parent’s wedding photo and was used on the dining room table with the food.  There was also a bright floral arrangement for the living room where guests could share memories for mom.  The one I really loved was a desert scene with cactus next to a globe to represent the Southwest and New Mexico.  She really outdid herself!

The final pieces of the party plan?  I wanted music across the decades that meant something to my mother.  My sisters were wonderful working on this and sent so many suggestions from our time as children living in Puerto Rico.  I created a playlist on Pandora called “Mom’s 80th Bday” and we kept adding to it.  We had songs from Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others.  We also included music from musicals like South Pacific and The King & I.  But the most important song to include – Where or When – was my parents song.  When they were dating in Cambodia and would go out to a particular nightclub to enjoy the band, the band leader would see them walk in and immediately start playing that song for them.  It reminds me of a scene out of a Doris Day movie….  We ended up with several hundred songs on that playlist.  I still love listening to it.

Part Two of Around the World in 80 Years shares how I got my mother to the party after the surprise was almost revealed and her reaction to everything.