pinterest fail birthday cake

Confession time.

I hate Pinterest. HATE IT. I just flat out didn’t get it for years and this is saying something for someone with as healthy a social media addiction as the next gal. I couldn’t understand why people posted pictures of clothes they don’t own, recipes they have never attempted and exotic beaches they have never seen with their own eyes.

When did the entire female population start pinning onto one giant mood board, what is this?

Then this nonsense started popping up at parties…

Wow, this cheesy butter ranch dip baked into a bread bowl is amazing! Where did you find this? Pinterest. Oh my gosh those little pink owl beeswax candle party favors are adorable, where did you find them? Oh I made them, got a little DIY inspiration from Pinterest.

Ugh. Sorry I asked.

When did we start pouring over lifestyle blogger pins to throw the perfect potluck? I mean yeah, that mango mint julep in my perfectly poured and garnished cornflower blue mason jar is delicious, but do I really need to operate at this level?

I was scared. I am not organized. I procrastinate. I hyperventilate just stepping into a Michael’s craft store. DIY and meticulous party planning has never been my strong suit. My mantra for social gatherings has always come down to two things: pay attention to the music playlist and keep the booze flowing.

With Pinterest fever in full force, my confidence was shaken but curiosity piqued. I finally kicked my animosity down a notch to see what the fuss was about. I set up my page and started out like most women do – pinning clothes, jewelry and shoes.

Somewhere between casual perusing and occasional pinning the unthinkable happened. I started believing that I should make my own deodorant and laundry detergent, that essential oils would cure every ailment and I could cut my grocery bill in half if only I planted a vegetable garden. I was becoming what I despised – a Pinterest addict. And it didn’t feel good. It was like a constant web page dedicated to all of the good intentions, wishes and wants I had, but never attempted. If I did they never quite came out the way I envisioned. The expectation that I could “pin” the life I wanted came into focus around my daughter’s 7th birthday a year ago.

Our general family rule has been to have a birthday party every other year for our kids. We do something fun with just the family one year and a birthday party with friends the next. It was C’s year for a party and she was excited about 7. This is the age I had gotten my ears pierced and she wanted the same and she REALLY wanted the party. I don’t know why, but something about 7 felt like a big deal. I decided I would make it a big deal and I turned to Pinterest.


I went with an Alice in Wonderland theme and went to work throwing a tea party for a gaggle of first graders. Invitations requested “tea party attire,” I bought glass tea sets and tea cups at local antique stores, set a menu of both parent pleasing healthy lunch items and pizza to keep the kids happy. I invited the moms and set two tables; one with perfectly prepared charcuterie boards and chilled champagne for the moms, the other decked with proper table settings, tea and pettifors, glitter, butcher paper, crayons and flowers for the girls. Flowers were everywhere; snipped and meticulously arranged. I dragged C’s massive doll house into the living room with lovingly arranged dolls for the girls to play with after they were tired of tea partying.

The kicker? I did something like this to my dining room ceiling. Thanks to Pinterest.
pinterest dining room

I ran all over town to find the perfect colors of toile and paper poufy things. It took a few hours and a few misplaced holes in our ceiling, but I did it and it was glorious.

The girls all came and they were adorable. They ate, they colored, they oohed and aahed at the decorations and flowers and marveled at their glass tea cups. The moms noshed on the cheese I couldn’t pronounce and sucked down the champagne. The icing on the figurative cake was literally the cake – an elaborately decorated Alice in Wonderland cake with seven glowing candles that went dark with one poof of my little birthday girl’s breath.

It was over.

And then it happened. As our guests were leaving one of the moms who I did not know very well said to me. “Everything was perfect. This party, your house, looked like something right out of Pinterest.”

I pulled it off… and then I immediately changed into my sweat pants and cried.

I was exhausted. With the sugar rush waning and C’s big brother home, I was left with nothing but a Pinterest trashed house and two screaming kids. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to have a sweet birthday party for my daughter and her friends at our home and take the time and care to make it special.

But, when you look at it – did she really notice? Did she care? And why did it matter so much if anyone did?

I did it for me. Maybe it was mom guilt or self-imposed Pinterest pressure. For the amount of buildup and work that little tea party took, we ended up throwing away half of the uneaten Wonderland cake. I don’t even have a picture from that day.

Fast forward a year later to C’s 8th birthday. There was no party this year and no complaints. She just wanted to paint pottery with one friend and we decided to have the family over for dinner. I baked the birthday cake myself (chocolate, C is a total chocolate junkie like her mother) the night before the festivities and am pretty proud of the pink confetti frosting I found to use as the filling. I even busted out my little frosting writing cap to finish the cake off with a “Happy Birthday.” The cap was, of course, the wrong size and did not fit the frosting tube. Frosting oozed everywhere. While I tried to write a beautiful cursive note to my girl it ended up reading something like, “Happy Birthday Carginoisnum….”

It looked ridiculous.

It looked hilarious.

It looked not Pinterest-worthy at all. My Huz took one look at it and laughed out loud.

I did too.

The night of C’s birthday we ate grilled steaks and baked potatoes that were undercooked and a little too tough. No one cared. We drank a ton of wine, turned the music up loud and let the kids stay up way past their bed times drinking root beer, the good kind in the brown bottles. C blew out her 8 candles from the #pinterestfail cake and asked for the biggest piece, because homemade chocolate cake is her favorite.

It was perfect.

I was living life out loud with my friends and family.

Instead of pinning it.

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