How to PLAN a 1 year old’s BIRTHDAY PARTY! My baby turns 1 soon.¬†


I can’t hardly believe it!

This year has gone by way to fast, my baby is turning one soon. (We only have two monthly stickers left to use.)

Zoe turns ONE, August 19th, 2016!

Which means her first official birthday is approaching…

I wasn’t going to over do it… (she won’t remember any of it.) However, because my guests are traveling to the Vineyard for her birthday, of course we are going all out. Plus, I love a really good party.

What makes a good party…

  • Theme
  • Invitations
  • Outfit, costume
  • People
  • Venue
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Cake
  • Music
  • Decorations
  • Photography

THEME

Choosing a theme is always fun, but it is also a helpful way to stay on track. 

The theme I chose for Zoe’s birthday is seashell, mermaid. Because we are having her party at the Vineyard, this fits perfectly. It will be fun when she is older (not that I’m wishing for her to get any older, just stay a little baby, Zoe…) to see what birthday party theme she chooses for herself.

INVITATIONS

Choose invitations based on your theme. Also decide whether you want to send snail mail, or an email option. 

I chose an email option. I used paperless post for my wedding save-the-date, and because it was so easy to use, I decided to use it again for Zoe’s birthday party invitation.

This time I used the free app, and designed the cutest invitation. They have some really awesome free templates, so it didn’t cost me anything at all – invitations can be expensive.

I also love that I can tell when someone has opened the email, but hasn’t yet responded. This eliminates the question of whether a guest has received the invitation of not.

Outfit, Costume

What will the guest of honor be wearing?!

There are a lot of options for a one year old’s birthday outfit. Some baby girls wear tutus. Some wear a onesie saying, “One,” “My First Birthday.” Some wear a birthday hat.

I’m still finalizing Zoe’s outfit. I can’t wait to share it with you, but I’m leaving it for a surprise. It will definitely be on the birthday party recap post.

PEOPLE

Who comes to your party makes a difference in what food you choose, what activities you do, etc. For example if you are going to have more babies and children at your party, you may need to consider kid friendly food options, and food allergies.

Over the last 10 months, some of my closest friends have had babies, and Zoe and I are also always open to meeting new mamas and baby friends.

So yes, she does have some baby friends, but because the party is in Martha’s Vineyard, the people coming are mainly family and close family friends.

VENUE

Choosing a venue is ideal. It will set the mood of your party. Again, you will need to consider who your guests are, and how long your party is. 

The original plan was to have a casual party on the beach. But because it is one of the busiest weekends on the Vineyard, Zoe’s grandparents suggested we have the party at their house. This is an awesome idea because now we don’t need to provide transportation to the beach, which is on the other side of the island. Plus, now I can have all the cute decorations I want.

FOOD

When choosing food for your party, consider the venue. What type of food is the area known for, what is locally grown? Also, who are your guests? Do you need to have kid friendly options, and consider food allergies?

Because the guests coming to the party are mainly adults, and Zoe will eat anything, I am not to concerned about food allergies or kid friendly options.

However, I am hoping for a menus full of seafood, such as lobster and clams. We will be on an Island off the coast of the Cape. So lobsters and clams are fresh – it’s a New England thing.

DRINKS

Again specialty drinks can be based on what the area or venue is known for. Also consider your guests and what time your party is at.

We are keeping our drinks simple by having beer, wine, and depending on how many guests we have, we may make watemelon margaritas or sangria. Of course Zoe will eat plenty of watermelon and drinking her milk.

CAKE

When it comes to a one year old birthday party, the cake is one of the most important parts. Traditionally, in the USA, you give your one year old her own personal cake to smash. It’s called cake smashing, and it is suppose to be your baby’s first taste of something sweet.¬†

Zoe’s Grams normally bakes a homemade cake for everyone on their birthday, and it is always delicious. As far as I know, she will be making a cake for Zoe’s birthday. And Zoe has never had cake before so it will be super fun to see her smash in it.

Cake smashing requires a high chair or space for baby to smash into it. I’m hoping I can figure out a high chair for Zoe. It is always cute to decorate the high chair with a banner and balloons. I want Zoe to have her own special chair or space for cake smashing.

MUSIC

Choose music based on your guests. Are people going to be dancing, or do you just need music in the background. 

Zoe loves music and she loves to dance, so we’ll be playing her favorit songs. I’m going to just use my iPhone and speakers.

DECORATIONS

Choose decorations based on venue, theme, and guests. 

Decorations are my favorite part. They can transform a venue. It is the small details that really make an event unique and your own.

Zoe is going to have a bubble machine going at her party. This adds character but is also fun for kids and babies.

The colors are going to be combination of pink, gold, and tourquoise. We are going to have a couple special things for Zoe but that’s a surprise and I’ll update you on this in the post I write about her party. But the picture above is a hint.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Choose whether you will need a professional photographer or whether you will manage to take photos yourself.

I’m planning on taking photos the whole time using my iPhone. Photo are very important to me.

Anyway, I’m excited for this vacation and this party. It is going to be so refreshing to escape this heat and go up North, and be at the beach.¬†

A one year old birthday party is so special. I can’t wait to celebrate Zoe. She has done so many incredible things this year, and deserves the best party ever.¬†

But most of all… She is my little love, who on August 19th, 2015, changed my world, making me a mama, a better person. My heart is full of love.

I hope this helps you plan your own baby’s one year old birthday. Can’t wait to share with you her birthday recap. Look for it on the blog in late August.¬†


Mamas- What was your favorite thing about your one year old’s first birthday party?

 


A reflection on 2013 in photos…

2013 was a very special year for me. I ran a lot of miles. I found a new passion for weight lifting. I cooked a lot of food. I spent the spring in my veggie garden. I hit the slopes in the winter. I traveled to some pretty amazing places. I read some awesome books. 

These are some of my top highlights, saving the best for last. 

I started 2013 off running…

Of course, doing my traditional New Years Eve night run and New Years Day morning run – striking a yoga pose in between.

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I am a runner, so of course I spent the rest of the year running…

On my runs, I captured some breath taking views…

January, February, and March is what I call my running off season, because I am not following a disciplined training plan. This time off from training for races gives me the opportunity to focus on other forms of exercise and nutrition. In 2013,  I spent this time getting very serious about weight lifting. I did the Livefit trainer, which I still basically follow. I learned about clean eating, supplements such as BCAAS. I learned about supersets, active rest periods, circuit training, lifting heavy, and HIIT. I also bought a heart rate monitor that took my training to the next level. All of this helped made me a faster stronger runner.

In February, I  hit the slopes.

April was a busy fun month for me.

I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler finishing in 1:24:33.

I ran the Parkway Classic 10 miler finishing in 1:24:16.

I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, finishing in 1:57:03.

The weekend of April that I didn’t run a race was the weekend of the Boston Marathon. The tragedy that happened there touched me, the running community, and the world. Boston Strong always and forever.

In 2013, I traveled.

I went to Miami for the first time.

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I went to Vegas for the first time.

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I went to Martha’s Vineyard.

I joined the Under Armour What’s Beautiful community, which inspired me, everyday. What I love most was all the yoga challenges.

In July, I started training for the Marine Corps Marathon. It was intense, but I loved it.

On October 27th, 2013, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon finishing  at 4:19:26 Рnew PR . This was by far my favorite race of the year!

Although, running my marathon comes in a close second nothing can top what happened on August 29th, in Martha’s Vineyard.

I got engaged. 

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Looking back on 2013 makes me smile. It was a fabulous year in which I challenged myself physically, emotionally, and mentally.  However, thinking of all of the amazing things planned for 2014 makes me smile even bigger. I am excited to start this year, the next chapter.

Thank you for all your love and support.

Bring on 2014!

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© 2014 sweatdaily

Running on Martha’s Vineyard

So now that you all have heard my exciting news– that happened on Martha’s Vineyard. It is time to reveal to you some of my favorite places to run on the Island.

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East Chop, located in Oak Bluff, is by far one of my favorite places to run. It is about a four mile run, two miles down hill, turn around, two miles up hill.
However, you can make your run as long or short as you want.

On this vacation I ran East Chop a couple times. I did a 10k by adding an extra two miles easily. After running down East Chop I made a right heading towards Vineyard Haven, then turned around after I ran the bridge. During this run, I felt amazing. It is crazy what a difference cooler weather can be.

Now the reason why I love running East Chop is because the scenery is breath taking. You get the opportunity to run right along the water. You are so close to the ocean that you can hear waves crashing. Most days there is an ocean breeze.

Also the beach houses along East Chop are beautiful and full of character. Although, there is also the famous East Chop light house, which gets attention from tourists, this running route is never too crowded. You won’t feel alone, because you most likely will see a few other runners.

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Another awesome place to run is the Oak Bluff harbor to Edgartown. Let’s explain. I ran this a couple times. There is a sidewalk that runs along the beach with spectacular views of the water and boats coming in. The harbor leads you to a bike path that takes you to Edgartown. On your way to Edgartown you will pass Jaws Bridge. Jaws Bridge is a fun place to pass because it is the famous bridge people jump off into the water. At this point it has been four miles and a great place to turn around, if you are trying to fit in a nice 8 miler in. The last time I ran this the sky was overcast, on the way back the sun came out. I remember running the last couple miles fast to get home in time to hit the beach.

So if you are looking for fun places to run on Martha’s Vineyard make sure you check out these routes. And while you are at it, jump off the Jaws Bridge!!

Where is your all time favorite place to run?¬†Have you run on Martha’s Vineyard?

© 2013 sweatdaily

The Proposal

It is saturday morning, August 24th, 2013, Erik and I are on a flight to our traditional end of the summer beach trip. The pilot jokingly chuckles in a Boston accent, that in 20 minutes we will be approaching our final destination, landing in the “Harba of Martha’s Vineyad.”

This is the first time that Erik and I had the opportunity to fly directly from Washington, DC to Martha’s Vineyard. Unlike our normal 5 hour trek, this was such an easy 90 minute flight.

Erik’s parents are sitting there patiently waiting in the small airport’s quart yard waiting for us to arrive. From Saturday to Tuesday morning we spend our Martha’s Vineyard vacation with them, but then on Tuesday they leave for Florida on business. They will be back Friday afternoon, and we head home Friday night. This is perfect timing, allowing Erik and I to finally experience the Island just the two of us.

We end up being blessed with some amazing beach days. The photos speak better than words.

On Thursday, we wake up to the typical New England overcast sky. The air cool and crisp Рit feels like fall. There is a breeze Рas if a storm was coming, but it never pours. Erik and I decide to go shopping in Edgar Town and walk around the harbor.

Later that day, we decide to head to Menemsha and Gay Head…

Menemsha is a beautiful beach that is known for its spectacular sunsets. Many photographers come to take photos. Others come for the view and a seafood picnic. It is easy to get seafood here because fishing boats park near the harbor, with fresh sea food. They have kitchen shacks where they will steam you a fresh lobster right from their boat. Many times there are pots of clam chowder and lobster bisque simmering.

Because the sky is smothered with gray clouds, seeing a sunset would be impossible, so last minute, Erik change our plan, and we start to head to Gay Head instead.

Gay Head is a beach known for it’s spectacular clay cliffs. There are cute shops on the top of the cliff. ¬†Previous years, I have been in the shops and on the top of the cliff looking down on the beach – but never walked the beach.

So Erik and I decided to head on down…

Of corse I am taking tons of pictures along the way. We follow the trail down to the beach.

The beach is as spectacular as everyone claims it to be. Waves crash wildly along the coast. The cliffs are made from red clay. They stand tall but unstable as heavy rocks fall from them. The sand feels like a clay facial mask for your feet.

In Martha’s Vineyard, it is rare to find your typical sea shell, instead the beaches are covered with sea glass and unique rocks. Many stores sell rocks with inspiring words on them, some with art painted on them. It is not uncommon for islanders to collect these rocks. So as we walk the beach, we are looking closely for unique rocks especially ones with halo rings around them.

Damn then, my phone dies… I guess I was taking too many photos.

I ask to barrow Erik’s phone so I can take one last photo of a wanna-be sand castle made from rocks. (You can see it in the last photo above – I thought it looked cool.)

All of a sudden, I hear Erik calling my name.

“Meggie… come over here.”

He starts crouching down.

I am really clueless of what is going on… maybe he found a cool rock, I thought.

“I have a question to ask you…”

He pulls out a red box that was hidden in his hands.

“Will you marry me?” he asks very quietly, as he opens the box.

Everything happening all at once.

I try to stay focused on him, but my eyes are hypnotized by the beauty, the sparkle of the ring.

“Yes,” I say…

And suddenly, I feel Erik putting the ring on my finger.

“Sorry, it took so long…” he says… “I love you.”¬†

We hike back up to the car and head over to Menemsha, to grab a lobster dinner.

On the car ride over, I stare at the ring, excited, shocked, pinching myself to see if this is actually reality.

The next morning we head to the beach one last time, before we have to pick up Erik’s parents at the airport. It is then that I decide to text a photo of the ring, to some close family.

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I have been getting a lot of questions about the stone. This ring is a rare natural black diamond. There are a lot of interesting facts about black diamonds. But one of them is…

“The Karloff Noir diamond is believed to be the world’s largest cut black diamond at 88 carats, and legend has it that when touched, it endows the person with good luck, fortune and happiness.”

Now I have my very own black diamond which only means one thing… I get to spend a life time with Erik.

Summer is coming to an end.
When something ends, new things begin…
On thursday, August 29th, 2013 on the Island Martha’s Vineyard- I got engaged!

© sweatdaily 2013

Good Reads, Good Runs, Good Writes in Martha’s Vineyard

“One Element of what you will learn later is how important and powerful a role visualization plays in performance. The mind follows the body and, in turn, performance follows the mind.”- Eric Orton/

So I have arrived in Martha’s Vineyard!

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I am planning on running and blogging everyday I am here! I also just started a new book.

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And although I will be updating you on this book I still will be quoting Scott Jurek’s, Eat and Run! ‚̧ He’s my favorite.

Fritter

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This is not a HEALTHY post. But for all of you, that love and know Martha’s Vineyard, you will a
appreciate this half eaten fritter from, Back Door Donuts. For those that don’t know Back Door Donuts, I’ll tell you about it.

Back Door Donuts is a bakery on Martha’s Vineyard. The one I usually go to is in Oak Bluffs. They make the best Fritter and Boston Cream Donuts. The cool thing about this place is that they start baking their donuts at 7:30 at night and continue making them until 2:00 am. The amazing smell of donuts baking fills the evening air of Oak Bluffs. The best part is that although the front of the bakery is closed for the night you can run around the back to the backdoor and they will serve you there. So you can eat any donut you want fresh at night.

The only downside is that as the summers go by this bakery gets more and more popular, so be prepared to wait in line. However, although, the line goes down the block it does move pretty fast, and is totally worth the wait.

Oh and also take note, this place is really good after a night of drinking.

Sunsets and Food in Martha’s Vineyard

This is my last post about my wonderful time in Martha’s Vineyard. I know it seems like I have been obsessing over my 5 days on the Island, but I just can’t help it, my runs were awesome and so were my photos.

I also loved everything I ate.

Before I get into that, let me take you back. For the last five years, I have read a lot of literature on nutrition. Some of my favorites including the books, Skinny Bitches,¬†The Eat Clean Diet, The Crazy Sexy Diet, Healing Teas.¬†I have also watched the documentaries,¬†Super Bad,¬†Crazy Sexy Cancer, and¬†Forks over Knives.¬†More than half of my research talks about the harmful effects meat and dairy has on the body, and how much more beneficial it is to just eat a plant based diet. All of my research has proved that processed and refined sugar is extremely ¬†harmful for the body. I don’t want to label myself as vegetarian or vegan, but I have been limiting processed foods, refined sugar and artificial sugars, yeast, dairy, and most meat with the exception of fish.

I¬†may get more into detail about nutrition in a later post, but for now I want to talk about how awesome the food is in Martha’s Vineyard. I had been struggling with eating less meat especially red meat in the past. When I run long, for marathon training, my body just craves steak. However when it comes to eating healthy I try to just take it one day at a time.

What I love about Martha’s Vineyard is the variety of seafood options. I did not eat any red meat not once, because all I ate was fish. The best part is how fresh the seafood is. Nothing shipped or frozen. Literally you purchase your lobster from the fisherman that caught it that day.

I ate this Lobster. My favorite!

Two years ago in Martha’s Vineyard I actually went clamming and crabbing. I got in the water and fetched my own dinner and then cooked it later, Clam Chowder, Clam Casino, a Crabs feast. This year I didn’t have the opportunity to do that because I went deep sea fishing instead, and caught and ate a sea bass. But when it came to clams, my bf’s step mom, went clamming. We ate her homemade clam chowder, and the clams were so fresh we ate them right on the half shell. We also had amazing steamers.

Food does not have to be complicated. It can stay simple, because it will be full of it’s own natural flavors if it is fresh and in season. ¬†And that is how it is in Martha’s Vineyard, everything fresh, everything in season, everything simple.

© 2012

 

Sunsets at Menemsha

glowing beach chairs

Yellow

 

Fishing

Watching the Sun

Chairs

Audience

Menemsha is the beach spot in Martha’s Vineyard where everyone comes in the evening to watch the sunset. There are tons of cool lobster kitchens along the beach so you can have a casual lobster dinner while watching the sky turn orange.

© 2012

 

Beach BBQ in South Beach, Martha’s Vineyard

This summer was a pretty good summer, a very busy summer, but the one thing I wished that I could have had the opportunity to do is run barefoot on the beach. However, in Martha’s Vineyard, the only really long stretch of beach is South Beach and it was located 20 miles away from where I was staying. So instead, we went to South Beach to have a Beach BBQ.

A simple photo, but a beauty. Sky, water, sand.

Tons of amazing food!

In the photo above I ate Arugula salad with Beets and Watermelon topped with Grilled Scallops. We also had, corn on the cob, eggplant layered with tomato and basil.

Finishing up and reviewing Natural Running. I had a breakthrough guys.

Walking the beach.

My Boyfriend and I walking the beach.

You can drive your truck right on the beach.

The beach BBQ was really amazing. I have never had one before. I am a beach girl, but I am also a minimalist. So normally when I go to the beach, I just bring a towel or blanket and lay there on the beach all day, nothing else. My boyfriend’s family came prepared. They had everything and went all out. They pulled their truck on to the beach, opened the back, and started pulling out, tables, coolers of foods and drinks, a grill. It was quite fancy and the food was really good, gourmet.

Questions for You

  • Have you ever had a beach BBQ?
  • What is your favorite beach food?

© 2012

 

 

 

Running East Chop in Martha’s Vineyard

East Chop in Martha’s Vineyard is a 3 mile loop that has amazing million dollar beach homes, that sit ocean front. The area doesn’t have any sidewalks, so if you run here, keep in mind that you will be running in the street. However, besides the beautiful homes, and ocean front views, the loop is very quiet. Not very many other traffic or people. It is just you, the wind, and the sounds of waves crashing.

If you need to squeeze in some hill work, East Chop is the place to do it. The hills are big and long, but not too steep. I actually didn’t run the loop, but rather ran 2.5 miles and then turned around for a total of a 5 mile run. It was a peaceful place to run. I highly recommend it.

Ocean view on the East Chop loop.

Waves crashing.

 

East Chop

The road I ran in East Chop.

The light house in East Chop

Views from my run.

 

My Newton Shoes running East Chop.

Well that is East Chop on Martha’s Vineyard.

Questions for You?

  1. Have you ever run East Chop?
  2. Do you like running around nature or through cities?
  3. Where is your favorite place to run?

© 2012