It’s a new year and I bet you’ve made a ton of resolutions. Is one of them to jump start a new business or career? Discover new passions? Try to combine the two and make some money? When I started my party blog Not Just A Mommy! almost 5 years ago, I never imagined that it would become something bigger than I could ever imagine. Party styling and the juggernaut that is the dessert table phenomenon was just beginning and I never thought I would become part of it.
So I decided last year to go back to school in graphic design so I could solidify my skills and strengthen my business. That’s right, I’m a full time student, military wife and mother to elementary and middle school boys on top of that. Juggling my life is an understatement. It takes work, but it can be done.
So with that in mind, it dawned on me that I’m not the only one trying to have it all, and it inspired me to start the series, It Started With An Idea. I want you to meet some amazing women that started with an idea and followed their hearts and dreams. Not to say there weren’t a lot of sweat and tears, and probably a little blood. For the next month, let me inspire you to get things crossed off your 2013 list with women who worked hard and made it happen.
Today, we are going to meet Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies…I discovered her baking prowess years ago at an event. When I put in my first order for Mario themed cookies, discovered we are neighbors less than 10 minutes around the way from each other. That’s right y’all…I live near a celebrity.
And I do mean celebrity…her work has been featured in BRIDES magazine, Seattle Bride, Seattle Metropolitan Bride and Groom, and on hundreds of top entertaining and lifestyle blogs including Amy Atlas Events, Hostess with the Mostess, TomKat Studio, and many more. But she’s so sweet and delightful, no Hollywood airs…as long as she stays here. There’s a rumor she is being wooed to LA.
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
JK – I’m a mother of two amazing little children (Ally, 6, Hudson, 4), and a wife to the most incredible husband, Dan. We live in Marysville, where we both grew up. I spend the majority of my days in the kitchen, alongside my kids who love to help. When I’m not baking, you might find me working in my kids’ classrooms, frequenting the local Starbucks drive thru, checking out what’s new at Target, decorating my house, hunting treasures at estate sales, and of course, spending time with close friends and family.
How did you get into the fabulous sweets gig and start Jenny Cookies?
JK – Jenny Cookies was started shortly after my daughter Ally was born. I did what most stay at home moms do, I found myself in the kitchen baking cookies! Cookies turned into cupcakes, cupcakes into cakes, cakes into cake pops, and suddenly I wasn’t creating dessert tables for just my own children’s birthday parties but corporate events, weddings, celebs, and other people’s birthdays.
OK, so we have to hear the story of how you and Tori Spelling became BFFs!
JK – A girlfriend of mine went to a book signing of T’s a few summers ago and asked me to bake her some cookies. I agreed, and baked cookies specific to each member of the McDermott family. Cupcakes for T, motorcycles for Dean, monkeys for Liam, and ladybugs for Stella. After the book signing T thanked me via Twitter. A week or so later she asked me to do some desserts for a Back-to-School party she was having (photo in the header). From there, we’ve worked together on almost every party she’s thrown since.
And how much did you squeal when she asked you to be in her first event planning book, celebraTORI?
JK – Definitely shocked, but of course super excited. It was a lot of traveling and a lot of up-all-nights, but in the end, the book turned out gorgeous. It was, and still is a huge honor to have done all the desserts and dessert tables (including the cover!) in the book.
You have hosted some amazing parties, my all time fave was your Down On The Farm party at a local barn. However, your recent Peter Pan party at the beach has knocked it down to second. Which of your parties is your favorite and do you have one you wish you could do over?
JK – It’s hard to say! My daughter’s Mary Poppins Tea Party ranks pretty high on the list, although the Peter Pan party was pretty fun. The party I wish I could do over was my daughter’s 4th party. We hosted a Pink Flamingo party inside a giant gymnasium. My husband and I made a 3ft standing pink flamingo cake that was surrounded by every pink dessert imaginable. It was amazing! The problem was, I didn’t plan a backdrop for my table so it was up against the gym mirrors. UGLY! Oh well, everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right?
You may be a SAHM but you are still a working mom; what is your secret to mostly balancing it all?
JK – It is definitely a balancing act! My kids are my number one priority, so I am very careful not to take on more than I can handle, which is hard for me because I like to think I can do it all. I try to work during school hours, nap time, and at night after my kids have gone to bed. I do though, occasionally suffer from mommy guilt. In those times, I have to remind myself that my kids are watching their mom do something she loves and is passionate about. I believe that is a great testimony to your kids, to find something you love and to figure out how to become successful doing it.
To balance out our work/family life, we really strive to make sure our time together is quality. Whether it’s talking in the car on the way to school, reading together at night before bed, making time for family dinners…it truly is every mother’s challenge! If only there were more than 24 hours in a day.
What are your favorite blogs and/or websites to visit when you have a moment?
JK – Honestly, I online shop before I read blogs. Nordstrom, JCrew, BabyGap, ShopBop, Piperlime…I really need to unsubscribe to those daily emails, they get me every time! After the shopping, I enjoy scrolling through Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart, Amy Atlas, and other top entertaining blogs.
I love to ask everyone I interview, if you are stranded on a desert island and can take one item and one meal, what would they be?
JK – That’s easy, my iPhone and a box of chocolate cupcakes!
Thanks so much Jenny! Stay tuned for the next ISWAI…we’ll meet a crafting powerhouse!