When Mazzy turned two, we threw her a huge birthday bash at my dad’s apartment. Because we couldn’t possibly fit all of her friends in our own apartment. You know, because a two-year-old has extremely close relationships that need to be honored, lest you risk ruining your baby’s big day.

By the time Harlow turned two (one week ago), we realized toddlers do not have good friends and throwing a big bash for a two-year-old is somewhat ridiculous. I mean, to each their own, but a small gathering of family with a couple kids thrown in for good measure (like her cousin and our neighbor) seemed more than sufficient.

We even decided to throw the party at our summer house,  a full hour and a half away from the city, to ensure most people would not come. FYI- this is also why my husband and I got married in California. Sometimes the only way to have an intimate affair is to be an a-hole and make people travel.

Even though we were keeping it small, I still wanted the party to look special and festive for Harlow. My friend and office mate, Seri (aka Little Miss Party) has been planning my girls’ parties since we met four years ago. It’s her standing gift to me for all occasions. She helped plan Mazzy’s Milk and Cookies party and Harlow’s Pancakes and Pajama party, which were both beyond amazing, if I do say so myself. She also planned the joint superhero party for Mike and her son that gave my husband major dad points.

Over the past year, Seri and her partner Michelle have been busy planning a new venture called “Litttle Miss Party in a Box“. After getting numerous requests to design parties outside of Manhattan, they decided to package a gender-neutral birthday party with all the specialty items you need, shipped directly to your door in one big box.

No planning necessary.

Even though the site hadn’t launched yet (it launched this morning!), I asked Seri if I could be her first test case. It seemed like the perfect way to keep things low key and simple, but still look stunning. And let’s be honest— instagram-worthy.

The night before the party, Seri dropped off the box.


I thought she was going to stay and help me put everything together, since she is usually very particular about details. But she said, “No. The whole point of the box is that busy moms can make something look great with minimal effort.”

When I opened the box, sitting right on top of a bunch of confetti, was a folder with “party blue prints” of how to make it all look fabulous.



With Mazzy, Harlow and my husband all sleeping upstairs, I got to work. There were party hats, plates, flatware, napkins, cups, a cupcake kit, a Happy Birthday banner, gift bags, stripe-y straws and more.

Turns out, putting it all together is really just taking the stuff out of the plastic.


I called Seri on the phone.

“All I really have to do is put this stuff on the table and hang the sign, right?”


“I feel like I am supposed to do more but it all looks great as is.”

“Yep. That’s the point.”


With all the details taken care of, including my cupcakes in the oven (I made them from a box because that’s how I roll), I set out on my next project— Harlow’s cake. The week before, Seri had shown me a picture of a carousel cake, which she thought would look adorable with her party decor. I called a cake place to see how much it would cost and they said $150. That seemed pretty insane to spend on a two-year-old’s birthday cake with only close family in attendance. I looked at the cake and decided I could make something similar using items we already had in the house.

Mike thought I had lost my mind.

“You are not a baker.”

“I know! There is no baking involved. I’m buying a plain white cake and then I’m just decorating it like a craft project.”

“You are not good at crafts.”

“I think I can do this.”

I think that’s when began placing bets behind my back that I would not be able to pull my carousel cake off. I was determined to prove him wrong.

And (secondarily), make something special for Harlow.

I’ll save a full homemade carousel cake tutorial for a separate post, but after channeling MacGyver and staying up until 2am with a glue gun, some pom-poms, a bag of M&M’s, a paper towel roll, wrapping paper, straws, plastic animals, ribbon and a kabob skewer stuck down the middle to keep it all balanced, this is how it came out:


Talk about Mom Skillz, am I right?


My favorite item in the box is a jumbo balloon with confetti and rainbow tissue tassel. The only thing we needed to do that morning was take the balloon to our local florist to blow it up. I would never have thought of going to the florist— I probably would have driven twenty minutes to the nearest party store, but Little Miss Party recommended using a florist right there in her Party Blue Prints.


When Harlow woke up the next morning, she was wowed by everything. She put her party hat on before she had changed out of her pajamas. We set up the little table for her four friends and Harlow sat there way before the party started.





By the time Grammy and Grandma Toby and Uncle Eric and Ya-Ya and Cousin Jack showed up, Harlow was in full-on party mode.








Here’s a pic of Harlow with her crush Gavin.


Gavin is otherwise known as Mazzy’s boyfriend.


Everyone thought I went all out on the party, even though with the exception of the cake, I put in no work whatsoever. I think I even sold my sister on using the box for Jack’s second birthday.




Here’s Harlow eating her cupcake in her new Sophia the First dress, a gift from Grandma Toby, who knew Harlow has been dragging around Mazzy’s size four princess dresses for the past year.



Thank you Seri for making Harlow’s low key party look amazing. The Little Miss Party in a Box site launched this morning and I am honored to have been their first test case. Especially since it was a huge success. It’s kind of like giving everyone access, no matter where they live, to the party planner I’m lucky enough to have in my backyard.

Did I mention that Gavin is Seri’s son? Here he is photobombing my family and letting us know he will be causing trouble for the next 10-15 years.


You can place your order for a “Little Miss Birthday Party in a Box” here. They are also selling a New Year’s Eve Party in a Box, with a Baby Shower and a Wine and Cheese Party coming soon.

Plus, I am giving one lucky reader their very own Party in a Box. To enter, just leave a comment from your kid to mine, wishing Harlow a happy birthday.

That way it can seem like she has more friends.

If you’d like a second entry, post this pic on Pinterest using “Little Miss Birthday Party in a Box” in the caption and then leave a second comment saying you did so.


If you’d like a third entry, tweet the following and then leave a third comment saying you did so.

I just entered to win a “Little Miss Birthday Party in a Box” from @mommyshorts— SO FABULOUS! http://bit.ly/1ycyCAi

Winner will be announced December 5th. Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Kasie and her daughter Charlie Mae who will turn two this January! I know she’ll have a fabulous birthday with Little Miss Birthday Party in a Box! Please contact abby@mommyshorts.com to claim your prize.


Party photos taken by Karilyn Sanders.