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One of the best things about graduating and leaving for a big trip is the party you get to have first! And this was no ordinary graduation party. This was both a graduation celebration and a bon voyage party. When we started sending invitations I didn’t really stop to add up the numbers but in the end we had over 60 of my nearest and dearest coming to wish me well and say goodbye. I was surprised how emotional I was, touched by everyone’s kind words and well wishes and how many traveled far and wide to come. It was the perfect send off. And like every epic party, this deserves an epic post, starting with the details!

As I mentioned in one of my art posts I fell in love with letterpress printing this year and decided for one of my final projects to letterpress my party invitations. I only have a camera phone photo of the press, but it should give an idea to those that aren’t familiar with the process. But photos can’t show what a time-consuming project this is! I spent an weekend and about five full length documentaries printing and assembling this labor of love. The front of the invites feature hand drawn illustrations and typography and the back features a hand drawn map blind embossed into thick white cotton paper.


You can see more photos of my invitations on my portfolio site .

Next were the balloons. I first spotted these in a photo of some sort of corporate event, and I was smitten. I ordered them online and brought them to a local party store to have them inflated where they caused quite the excitement in the balloon department. They were a huge hit at the party and I even used them for a fun impromptu photoshoot for new headshots. I’m sure the neighbors were delighted watching me frolic through the lawn with a handful of oversized floating globes. Order your own

 New York graduation

New York graduation

Then comes the best detail of all: the cake. While it’s not a very convenient hobby to have for a perpetual traveler, baking is one of my favorite things to do. While I can’t claim credit for actually producing the cake genius that is to follow, I would label myself as the “art director” 🙂

 New York graduation

New York graduation

I had to do quite a bit of research to find vintage luggage labels from each of my upcoming locations, and some of them I edited a bit. I’ve uploaded them for your downloading pleasure !

But as you all know, graduation parties are about more than just cakes, balloons and invitations. They are also about taco buffets and balloon photo shoots. Just kidding. There’s also the details like hanging out with your friends and family who traveled miles and miles to be there.

My Dad’s side of the family, minus my little sister who was selfishly in Bali..

My Grandma, all the way from Florida!

My cousin, all the way from Chicago!

When the party was over and the local guests had gone home (we had eight staying with us!) I couldn’t believe how the day had flown by. I felt like I had less than five minutes to talk to each person! I don’t know how brides and grooms with big weddings do it. Luckily I had three things to cheer me up after the excitement died down: leftover cake, big balloons, and boyfriend willing to play photographer for me. My aim was to get a new headshot to use as my icon on Twitter, Flickr and the rest and for my About Me page. Mission accomplished!

 New York graduation

New York graduation

The photo on my new About Me page

My favorite photo prop… the trampoline!

All in all, a fantastic send off! It felt like an appropriately big event for such a big moment in my life. And it wouldn’t have happened without my wonderful family and friends… thanks for the great party Mom and Dad!

Stay tuned!

  • Nooger
    June 16 2011

    All fun and good, but let’s get on with the actual traveling….

  • You have such a gorgeous family! And I just adore the photos of you with the balloons. Perfection!!!

  • What an insanely amazing party!

    • Meihoukai
      June 17 2011

      Thanks! It was a fun one! You’ve thrown a pretty great party of your own recently… 😉

  • Kris Koeller
    June 21 2011

    Good luck on your travels!

    • Meihoukai
      June 21 2011

      Thanks Kris! I’m nearly two weeks in and so far, so good! 🙂

  • Bridget
    March 31 2016

    Hi there,

    Where exactly did you order the globe balloons from (which seller), if you can remember? They look great in your pictures, but the reviews are showing them as looking like regular helium birthday balloons :/


    • Meihoukai
      April 6 2016

      Sorry Bridget, this was so long ago and my memory just doesn’t go back that far in such detail 🙂