Golden Thirties

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or simply not reading this blog) over the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about turning 30 and finally hit the milestone a week ago!  I first reminisced about my 30 Before 30 List, and then I crafted a new list of what I really think about turning 30.  Ushering in a new decade has really given me time for reflection, relaxation, and fun.  I love it so far!

However, I’m sure that a few of you are wondering what this really has to do with Creating Krista.  I’ve been putting off quite a few posts about DIY projects – we’ve been working on a complete bathroom renovation, a new pantry, and a pot rack, among other things.  I thought I’d take this post to steer us back into the wonderful world of DIY with a look back at my 30th birthday party and all of the crafting that came along with it.  Let’s review!

Before I even get to my own projects, I have to give a very special shoutout to our friend Karl from Hungus Brews.  When I told Dan that I wanted a custom hard cider for my birthday, I thought I was shooting for the stars, but Karl made it a complete reality.  With a few months of planning, he worked hard to create something that was delicious, personal, and of course ripe for naming.  I was dying to give the cider a Viking-themed name, and Dan really nailed it with Bjorn Iron Cider (named after Bjorn Ironside, real Viking and character from the History Channel’s Vikings).  I couldn’t resist printing this ridiculous photo of Bjorn, laminating it, and slapping it right on that cooler.

Of course, no Krista-themed party would be complete without one more custom drink.  I always make sure to have the Tipsy Palmer on hand for my friends who aren’t as into beer or cider as I am.  This beverage dispenser was just $20 from the Christmas Tree Shops and it has held up over many summer parties – I just love it!  The drink?  It’s a special alcohol-themed Arnold Palmer: just a handle of sweet tea vodka and a full container of lemonade with a few lemon slices cut up for garnish!  I added a couple of fun colored straws and a label to finish the look.  Ooh – before I move on to the next thing, let me just point out that I spent about an hour drawing gold Sharpie polka dots on this fuschia tablecloth that I ordered from Amazon, all while watching Flip or Flop.  A pretty easy project with a fun little punch.

For snacks, I set up a popcorn bar with a few delicious toppings.  Unfortunately none of us were smart enough to actually snap photos of it during the party (here’s my Pinspiration for the bar).  Regardless, it was a huge hit!  We had pretzels, peach ring candies, pink and white M&Ms, and of course, popcorn for serving.  I put each topping in a small metal bucket, leftover from my wedding, and glued some ribbon around each bucket that fit the theme.  I also created these original popcorn bags above using my newfound calligraphy skills from a one-day workshop that I took with the fantastic Kathy Milici in Sparta, New Jersey. Clearly I was feeling inspired because I made over 40 of these bags! Whew.

Before I go any further into projects: did somebody say SOFT PRETZELS?!  In this case, yes – my mom surprised me with a set of Happy Birthday pretzels from the Philly Pretzel Company and we threw them into one of my favorite woven trays, no problem.  Dan made an impromptu cheese sauce which ended up being quite a popular addition to our pretzel station.

For dessert, I borrowed this genius cupcake topper idea from my friend Janice.  I love the idea of a good throwback-themed party, and I rummaged through quite a few old photos to find the perfect cupcake-topping photos.  We’ll call them Krista deVille and Sears Model Krista. I cropped both photos to 1.5-inch circles on Photoshop and printed about two dozen of each photo.  I also bought gold and pink cardstock paper, paired with black cardstock that I already had at home.  I used these EK Tools circle punches in 1.5-inch to cut out the photos and 2-inch to cut the cardstock.  I used glue dots to attach both the photos and the toothpicks to the paper.  Each topper had a back cardstock circle attached as well, so no one could see the toothpick in the back.  The cupcakes were actually made from pound cake, and I used strawberry and vanilla frosting.  So yum!

Keeping the throwback theme alive, I dug through even more old pictures from all stages of my life and made some super cute photo garland.  I found pictures from early childhood, the awkward tween years, teenage Krista, and even some special moments from adulthood so far.

For this project, I used the same supplies as the cupcake toppers: pink, black, and gold cardstock paper, photos, and glue dots.  I scanned our old family photos into 4×6 prints at Walgreens and cut the cardstock to have a slightly larger size, about 1/4-inch border on the sides of each photo.  I used a simple ball of twine and tiny white clothespins to hang the garland on the fence.  As you can see, there were two fun strands of old photos, and they made for great conversation starters as well as decorations!

It’s been my dream to have a good reason to buy shiny helium number balloons for… well, forever.  I decided to utilize a portion of our backyard fence and turn it into an impromptu photobooth!  I bought the balloons at Party City and immediately put them to good use (with one deflating snafu, salvaged by my ever amazing brother Russell Kohlmann) by nailing the ribbon to the fence.  I also bought this tassel garland from Amazon to tie the decorations right back into the pink and gold theme.  I love this garland, but I will say that putting it together was more difficult than I thought.  It involves separating each individual strand of tissue paper, folding, tying, taping, and stringing – so it definitely does not come completely finished.  Let’s just say I put in my project time at the hair salon while waiting for my hair color to take hold!

I also added a few props into the mix for guests to use when taking their photos.  I chose to buy the Chic 30th Birthday props from Amazon instead of making them myself – it was worth it, given the number of other projects we undertook for the party.

Extra special thanks goes out to my brother Russell (again) for making the photobooth experience even more fun by creating a custom Snapchat geofilter for the party.  In case you didn’t know, you can actually create a personal on-demand Snapchat geofilter based on your specific event date and location.  This filter was available for about 24 hours and cost less than $25 overall. I love how he used the throwback theme and included even more ridiculous photos of me, designing it as though the filter was my parents’ fridge (those are their actual magnet borders!). It definitely made for a fun time and got my friends excited to use Snapchat to document some of the sillier moments.

I took great care in the overall atmosphere of the party and really wanted to create a great entertaining space that was fun and functional for over 30 people! We have a pretty small patio, so mixing and matching furniture was a must, but it all worked out in the end.  Again, since everything was so hectic, this is the only snapshot we got of the table display!  For the set up, I alternated old framed photos of me, tall vases with pink roses (another gift from my parents!), and citronella candles to keep the bugs away.  Dan also came up with a nifty solution for hanging string lights since we don’t have a pergola or any easily accessible trees.  I’ll share that for another post.

One of my favorite things about the tablescape?  This adorable DIY table runner that I threw together in about five minutes.  It’s four woven placemats glued together from the Target dollar section, of all places!  $3 table runner?  I’ll take it.

Overall, my 30th birthday celebration was one for the books! I am so thankful to have received so many well-wishes and kind words from friends and family.  Now I just need an excuse to use up the rest of my pink and gold party decor…


I’m currently approaching the “10 days until 30” mark in my life.  So far on the blog, I’ve referenced my ambitious 30 before 30 list in addition to my 2016 resolution to lighten up on myself.  These two things don’t exactly go hand in hand.  How does a girl gracefully embrace turning 30 while not putting additional pressure on herself to accomplish tasks that her 25-year-old self thought were important to happiness?  This post might be a little self-indulgent, but I have been working really hard to take pressure off of my own shoulders, and I want to celebrate that.  Let’s just say that my 25-year-old self had no idea what the late twenties were going to be like.

Here’s a few things I really think about turning 30, thanks to the whirlwind of ups, downs, cats, cuddles, jobs, names, and challenges that I’ve had in the past five years.  Disclaimer: this blog is in list post format, because no matter my age, I will always love lists.

1) I’m going to throw myself an epically awesome 30th birthday party.  I think my 25-year-old self would have been on board with this project, given that I have always loved celebrating my birthday.  However, I’m talking about decorations, actually mailing invitations, and doing some serious party prepping in my own home and yard.  I can’t WAIT!

2) Screw the classics. I will read as many Elin Hilderbrand books as I damn well please.  For the past two years, I’ve set a Reading Challenge for myself: 30 books in one year.  While this is ambitious among my other commitments and hobbies, I added on the additional stressor of reading 10 classic novels per year.  As of June, I’ve barely scratched the surface on one of them.  I’m going to drop the guilt about indulging in chick lit and accept that I’ll get to the classics in my own time, rather than forcing myself to do so.

3)  I will celebrate all of the things I’ve accomplished on my 30 Before 30 List, rather than focus on what hasn’t been completed.  I went to Norway.  I got promoted, was published, presented at national conferences, and supervised staff. I started a DIY blog and renovated several rooms in my own home.  I became a Jazzercise instructor.  There’s no need to focus on the fact that I never joined a kickball team or learned to crochet.  There’s time for those things too, of course, but now it’s time to celebrate what I have accomplished.

4) Meditation is everything.  Nowhere on my 30 before 30 list did I write, “do nothing” or “slow down”.  I’ve discovered in the past six months that taking time to actually press pause during my day is one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.  It’s actually made me calmer, happier, more well-rested, and a better partner and friend to the people I love most.

5) I’m committing to my health.  While I’ve been a fabulous fitness instructor for a few years, I haven’t exactly made any big changes to my eating habits.  My love for chicken nuggets knows no bounds.  However, I think it’s time to start getting a little more serious about being healthy and eating some greens.  The first step involves enjoying my brand new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share from Von Thun Farms, so I’m already taking baby steps to get there.

6) I’m all about hobbies.  I’ve been on the DIY train for a while, but this blog has unfortunately started to feel more like a chore rather than a hobby.  Of course, cutting back on the weekly posts has made a big difference in this feeling.  Now I can post when I want to, as opposed to feeling like I have to.  I’ve also embraced a few new hobbies: I took a calligraphy writing class, I’m becoming quite the beer enthusiast, and I’ve decided that color-coordinating my outfits is a hobby (and a super fun one, at that).

7) “Good for her, not for me.”  For a long time, I turned to a great mantra from Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  This is still one of my favorite quotes, but I’ve decided to modernize and personalize it even further with these words of wisdom from Amy Poehler in Yes Please: “Good for her, not for me.”  Amy advocates that instead of competing against each other, women can benefit from acknowledging each other’s successes. I love how Amy talks about her good friend Maya Rudolph being a childbirth warrior and giving birth to her children at home, which is something that she would never do.  To me, this quote shows that there’s no need to compare or feel jealous, and I can simply acknowledge that feat is someone else’s thing – not my own.  That’s a great way to live.  Oh, you started a brewery?  You got a salary increase? You wrote a novel? Good for you, not for me – there’s plenty of things I can enjoy about my own successes.

8) I’m eliminating “should” from my vocabulary.  I mentioned this earlier in the spring, but I am all about removing “should” from my vocabulary.  For me, this is a word tinged with guilt and shame, and it puts unnecessary pressure on my shoulders.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “I should probably be vacuuming instead of reading this book right now” or “I should stop comparing myself to others” (ugh, shame on shame right there).  Instead, I’m actively trying to use phrases like “it would be better if…” or “instead of this, I could do this…” to replace “should”.  It’s become a very angry word for me.

9) Embracing my inner fangirl.  Gone are the days of being “too cool”.  I remember when I was in fifth grade, I told my mom that I couldn’t wear a Mickey Mouse t-shirt because it wasn’t cool.  I was so concerned with what other people thought of me that I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of wearing a really cute Mickey shirt.  Granted, I was ten, but that moment has always stuck with me.  Since then, and especially now that I’m approaching 30, I’ve decided that it’s time to embrace my excitement or love for things and wear them directly on my sleeve.  For example, this past weekend, I went to an awesome New Jersey brewery called Jersey Girl Brewing Company and LOVED IT.  I promptly put on a t-shirt and asked if  I could stand up on the platform next to all of the brewing equipment.  I just about foamed over with excitement (or maybe that was my beer), and it made the experience even better.  I also bought two pint glasses.  Good thing I have money to help me embrace my inner fangirl.

10) Being okay with uneven numbers on lists.  See what I did there?  This will just be a top nine list. :)

I’m sure there are countless lessons I’ll learn as I embark on this new decade.  After all, it’s only a matter of time before I get cracking on the 40 before 40 list.  Today, I’m all about finding joy and letting go of the pressure.  Let’s see where this next decade takes me!