I always say it’s so ironic that I named my blog Busy in Brooklyn because when I actually started blogging, I wasn’t nearly as busy as I am these days. I am truly living up to my name! Thankfully things have quieted down a bit since the whirlwind post-book-release. Just a few days after wrapping the book release party, I began planning my daughter’s Bas Mitzvah amid the hustle bustle of book signings and demos. As we celebrate my daughter’s actual birthday this week, I thought it would the perfect time to recap her special day.First things first, you can’t plan a party without a theme. We went back and forth a lot about ideas – we thought about having a party on a horse ranch (too much liability), ditching it altogether and heading to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal, Orlando (she’s a fan of the series) or planning a family trip to Israel (we decided to save that one for the Bar Mitzvah in a few years!). My daughter decided that she really wanted the opportunity to celebrate with her friends, so it was back to the drawing board! Because Chuma had Bas Mitzvah’s almost every night towards the end of the year, we didn’t want to do yet another catered party, so we came up with the concept of Cake & Craft – a simple and unique party with an eleborate dessert bar, special treats and fun crafts. She couldn’t be more excited!
I met with Jenny Platzman of Artscroll Print @artscrollprint to design the invitation, and they just took the idea and ran with it! Their team of designers came up with this unique graphic which we printed on one side of the square invitation, with event details, along with paint splatter on the other side. There were painted coloring book drawings on the envelope lining as well – the whole thing was just so unique, creative, and just US. Jenny was so incredible to work with. She took initiative and sent gentle reminders to me throughout the process which really got me moving amid my crazy schedule. I keep reminding her that I would have never been able to pull it all off without her help, she just went way beyond the call of duty and was helpful in so many ways.
So we had a theme and an invite, but I was too busy to arrange the party details, so I hired Shani and Dusha Davidowitz, two sister in laws from Partee Perfection @partee_perfection to help me put the event together. I took some pre-bat mitzvah photos to use in the decor (like the Harry Potter one above), painted up a fun guest sign-in board, and took care of the family wardrobe, but I left most of design details up to them because even though I love this sort of stuff, I was way too busy for the nitty gritty.
Needless to say, they pulled through with flying COLORS – pun intended. They took the concept of the black and white sketches with the colorful paint and translated it to the tablescape – with striped tablecloths from @DSquared5t and flowers by @boutiqueliliane. Custom ladders, paintbuckets, brushes and photos rounded out the design.
Of course the finishing touches are everything, with custom napkin holders, napkins, and water bottles by @Napkings, papergoods by @yomtovsettings, lucite chairs by @ace_party_rental and event lighting by @davidjacobproductions.
Since the Bas Mitzvah was dessert–themed, we had to up the ante on after dinner treats, so Partee Perfection brought in the head honcho of party stations, @partystem to set up noshing stations around the room! We had fresh popped popcorn, a donut wall, chocolate fountain, smore’s bar and ice cream bar – basically every 12 year old’s dream party! I’m amazed at all the options available these days!
Of course the dessert table was overflowing with adorable custom made cookies and cakes with a crafting theme, and the most delectable dairy bites from @bergers_to_impress. I’m still dreaming about her sour cream cinnamon twists, they were THAT good. And never forget to put out customized bags for the kiddies to take home a goodie bag, also by @Napkings.
Now enough about CAKE – time for CRAFT! We set up a scrapbooking station for the girls to design pages for a keepsake scrapbook. And I brought in the most talented crafter I know – @abbeywolin – to do a paint splatter craft with the girls. They each designed their own baseball cap for the summer and they also went home with Abbey’s inspiring adult coloring book, Faith in Form. For each coloring book that was given out, we donated a matching one to our local Friendship Circle.
Now if you’re planning a Bas Mitvah, here’s what I learned: You can obsess over the theme, the details, the color of your outifts – but only a few things really matter in the end.
- The bas mitzvah girl’s dress is everything. You can make the prettiest party in the world, but her dress is what will really make her feel like a princess. I had a custom one made by @tunzatulle and it was everything she ever dreamed of and more.
- Make a killer dessert table. That’s all the kids really care about.
- Make a video montage. The kids can’t get enough.
- If nothing else, get a party motivator. I hired Sara Younger from @playlandparties and she literally MADE the night. From the fun dances, to the adorable games, her little group of motivators and exciting prizes she threw around the room – it kept the kids going for hours and they had a complete and total BLAST.
I don’t know how Sara has the stamina to go for hours, it’s like Zumba on steroids! She brought such amazing energy to the party and girls did not stop thanking her and saying how it was the most fun they ever had! I have to agree and I’m 12 a few times over already ;)
Lets talk about the important stuff – speeches! My daughter was nervous for months about her big day because it meant standing up in front of a crowd and giving a speech. We told her to imagine cabbage heads, people in pajamas, anything! My husband shared with her about how he overcame his fear of public speaking (it’s hard to imagine he ever had one, he’s become so confident!), but when the big day came she literally blew it out of the park.
Here’s a small excerpt: “This week’s Parsha, Parshas Chukas, mentions that Miriam passed away. The well water that the yidden were drinking for 40 years dried up at the same time. We learn from this that the water that the yidden had in the midbar was in Miriam’s merit. Miriam showed a lot of gratitude to Hashem when her brother Moshe was saved in the Nile. She also sang shira when the yidden were saved after the splitting of the sea. Since she was so grateful for a miracle that happened with water, Hashem rewarded her with water.
Miriam represents all Jewish women. She also represents how Jewish women must be leaders. Water represents Torah. Women are responsible to teach young children Torah. It was in the merit of the Jewish children that we received the Torah on Har Sinai. When a girl turns Bas Mitzvah she is transforming from a girl to a women. I am now responsible for the Mitzvos of Hashem. I now can choose to make my own decisions and to commit to giving my parents and Hashem nachas by being the best leader that I can be.”
Communities tend to have different customs when it comes to Bas Mitzvahs. For mine, my mom made a nice dinner party in my house and invited my classmates. I remember her serving some kind of fruit smoothie in a plastic champagne glass and I thought it was the fanciest! Things have changed a lot since then and parties range from simple family get togethers to red-carpet affairs (literally), but I like to keep things somewhere in the middle. What matters most at the end of it all is that the Bas Mitzvah girl feels celebrated among her closest family and friends and judging by her smiles that night (and many nights after), I’d call our CAKE & CRAFT venture a huge success, thanks to all the parties involved. May we merit to share many more happy occassions together in the future!
Photos by @benamsphoto
Hair by @hairbychavee
Makeup by @glamourdame
Outfits: @kiddichicusa @tunzatulle