Friday, August 13, 2010


If you've come for cake or cake related words you will not find them here, at least for today. About a week ago I signed up for The 21 Day Meditation Challenge here.  I have meditated in the past, but it didn't 'stick', so when I saw this opportunity, I jumped on it. Lately I have been feeling out of balance, as I am sure a lot of mothers and wives do. I'm not much different from all the rest of you, I just have the additional challenge of working from home all day with my husband, who also works from home all day.

December marks our 15 year Anniversary. At this point, being together 24/7 works for us (mostly), but if it we were together this much in the early stages of our marriage, I doubt we would have seen this milestone. Our youngest, who is 5, will be starting Kindergarten in exactly 12 days. I'm sure it will be like it was on the first day of school for my other two children; I will walk them to their classrooms. I will observe them. I will see them fighting nervous excitement. My heart will flood with empathy and pride. I will turn away so they don't see me crying. My husband will take my hand, chuckle and say 'Uh oh, you okay Mommy?' which will make me cry a little more while I begin laughing at myself. Then I will be hit with the reality that I have not been home without a child to tend to all day since my daughter was born 7 years ago.

So now I have a wonderful, new chapter of life ahead of me. I get to take time to devote to my husband and to my business. And this is why I am participating in the 21 Day Meditation Challenge offered by the Chopra Center. First, I want to get into the habit of meditating (hence 21 days) and I'm hoping to get to a higher awareness of the possibilities that come from meditating. I know, sounds a little 'out there', but so what.

Day one went perfectly smooth. Today was Day 2 and not quite so smooth as yesterday. I had trouble not getting distracted, but apparently however it goes is exactly how it's supposed to go. 'Meditation is like a snowflake; no two are the same'. 

I invite you to join me. Join me here to learn about my journey, or join me out there to begin your own. They make it really easy - just sign up and they deliver it to your inbox early every morning so it's there when you wake up. Simple. Here's the link:

Namaste - literal translation: “I bow to you.”

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I love local vendors who are not too big to provide outstanding customer service. I often email photographers to ask for a copy of a photograph that they shot, of a wedding cake I provided.  The idea is they email the pictures to me and in return I put their link on my website and with the picture of the cake. Fair enough. Who couldn't use more exposure? Well, apparently a lot of people. Of the dozens of offers I've made over the years, only a handful have responded and only one or two said okay. HOWEVER, every now and again you have the pleasure of experiencing just the opposite.

After a very stressful day yesterday, I received an email from one of my brides letting me know that her photographers site had their wedding pictures posted. So I checked them out, and they were great. I emailed the photographer, not expecting to hear back for a dew days, if at all. Wasn't I pleasantly surprised when I received an email, not an hour later, with the photos attached. She gave me a lovely compliment on the cake setup AND a thank you!

No, Lynn Harris, THANK YOU! You made my crummy day end on an upswing, and I so appreciate you for that. And your prompt customer service. Outstanding!

The bride chose to have a Wedding Cupcake Tower. On a side note, the bride is quite creative. She did most of the decorations herself which were so unique and she blogged about her preparations for her wedding so her family could get updates! When I arrived to set up the cake, the way she had decorated the cupcake tower was beyond cute and the perfect backdrop for the cake. Keep in mind when the cupcake towers are shipped, they are plain, white cardboard. She did a fantastic job and transformed it into this:

Don't you just love the colors? They make me feel like spring.

And here's the cutting cake. Vibrant. Happy. Like the couple. Congratulations Clip and Judy!

Photos courtesy of Lynn Harris Photography. You can visit Lynn's site here

Friday, May 28, 2010


This is such a bittersweet holiday for so many. For some of us, Memorial Day loses the meaning if you've never said goodbye to someone in uniform not knowing if and when they'll return. So this year, make it more about what it actually is and less about the barbecue. And if you need to get into the real spirit of it, head on over to Pioneer Woman who's new photography assignment is titled appropriately "Coming Home."  You can view them here, and here and here.
I must warn you to go there only with a large box of Kleenex. And make sure know one is around to witness your face while you're in the midst of the ugly cry.

Thank you to all of the men and women who fight for our country and our freedom and to the family members of these brave humans who wait for their return.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Housecleaning. Housekeeping. Blech. Those are dirty words. My house is not messy. It's lived in. When you have children, especially young ones, it's normal that your house looks lived in, right? And when you run a business from your home, it's even worse. Especially when your business is baking. A few words to facilitate a mental image: powdered sugar, flour, cocoa, buttercream, eggs, cream, icing color, mixing bowls, beaters, pots, pans, spatulas, measuring spoons and cups, pastry bags, pastry bag tips, and on and on AND ON.

Throw in being married to a man who also works from home, who has undiagnosed OCD about keeping neat, clean and organized (not to mention a secret obsession with having no dirty clothes in the laundry room) and the pressure is on to at least keep up with the day to day. There's a few problems though. One, I looooooath cleaning. Two, I am a procrastinator. Three, I am the 'creative type'; typically unconcerned with having an immaculate house. Organization can be a challenge.

So today and tomorrow, I am going to speed clean. I am getting my bucket of cleaning supplies ready, I am turning off my computer, my blackberry and the television. I am kicking the kids outside, cranking the music and will be out of the gates like Calvin Borel riding Super Saver. Hopefully I'll last longer than two minutes!

Why the sudden urge? There will soon be some redecorating going on in this house. So I need to get things organized, do some purging in closets and such. I need a clean palette. A fresh perspective. A blank canvas will open up the space so I can do something here with all of the ideas I have found. I discovered some incredible women bloggers last night and got some fantastic ideas around decorating for less without it looking cheap. Check them out here and here. I am warning you though, do it when you have an hour (or two) free because one amazing blog that you will want to read from first post to last will lead you to another blog that you want to read from top to bottom too. Thank you Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick and Katie from Bless Our Nest. You've both inspired me to make my house feel welcome and cozy to not just it's residents, but everyone who enters.

And she's off....


Sunday, May 9, 2010


Happy Mother's Day!
I am a procrastinator. I need professional help. I am a rotten, rotten child. I fully intended to send my mother a card early last week. I went shopping, I forgot the card. I realized this on Thursday night. My mom lives in New Jersey and if I mailed it Friday, she never would have gotten it in time. I know what you're thinking, I should have sent it anyway. But I thought receiving it after the fact would be insulting to MY mom. She deserves much, much more than a Mother's Day card after Mother's Day. My mom ROCKS - and now I get to give you all a little background so you know why I think she's The World's Best Mom. After reading it, I know you'll feel guilty for wishing your mom was as awesome as MY mom. Don't worry, it'll be our little secret.

My mother hasn't always been my mother, biologically speaking. I have two sisters, and biologically speaking she hasn't always been their mother either. DNA is the one thing that precludes her being 100% my mother. But giving birth to a child does not a mother make, and in every sense of the word she is absolutely, unequivocally, without question, 110% my mother.  And she's aMaZiNg. (So is my Dad and so are my three brothers, but it's not about them!). My two sisters and I were adopted by our family in 1985. When we were adopted, I was 10.  Technically she's been my mom since 1981. In 1981, we became foster children and joined an already full house; three boys, all close to or over 18.  Who adds three more kids to the mix when you're sooooo close to having the house to yourselves after raising three BOYS? My mom does. And I am grateful to my core that she did. And I'm pretty sure she is not kicking herself. (Waiting on confirmation)

  • My mom always made me feel special. No matter what it was, she always encouraged me, pointing out that I was good at something. I wasn't overly praised; she didn't think that everything I did was the greatest, but the stuff that I did have an affinity for she encouraged. She gave me a nudge in that direction without me realizing it at the time.
  • My mother showed me what compassion is. She's a mush; gentle, with a heart of gold who loves people and animals. Mostly dogs but monkeys too. (Minkeys!) She's considerate and selfless and thoughtful and always thinking of others above herself, and she always thought of me.
  • My mother is patient. I was a 'difficult' child. Strong-willed, stubborn, stupid and lacking judgement at times. So I was like most kids, only I was this way more frequently, and when I did it, I did it bigger than the normal, teenager would. Never really thought much about when she mentioned having my own kids who would one day act like me. And yep. What comes around DEFINITELY goes around as I can attest to in my own parenting experience. But she never gave up on me.
  • My mom is fiercely protective of her family. There are no lengths she will not go to make sure her family is safe.
  • My mom is fair, no matter what I said umpteen MILLION times when I was growing up. There was always a reason behind her actions. I never understood it then but that's one of the beauties of maturing. She was usually always right, but in the rare instance she was wrong, she was woman enough to admit it.
  • My mom is a great friend. As a child who was, shall we say challenging, I never thought I would have the kind of relationship that I have with my mother today. She has been an immense source of support and wisdom, especially over the last couple of years. She listens, she advises, she doesn't judge.
  • My mom loves me. She's even loved me when I made it hard (really, really, really hard) to love me. She showed me that love doesn't always come wrapped in pretty paper with a big shiny bow. She showed me that it may look a little different than what you expect. She showed me that love is not just the words 'I love you' but that genuine love is action in the absence of those words.She wasn't overly 'huggy and kissy' but she didn't need to be. Everything in my life only exists because my mom loves me.
In the early 80's, I met my mom. She didn't give birth to me. She never saw me take my first step. She didn't hear my first word. She didn't get to see all the cute stuff. In fact, she saw a lot of ugly stuff and somehow, she knew there was beauty beneath it and she patiently waited for it.

I know I haven't told her enough how grateful I am. I know I haven't said thank you enough. I know I haven't sent enough cards. But hopefully, by reading this, she'll know how much I appreciate her, how much I recognize what a brilliant woman she is. Hopefully she knows how much I respect her, how much I appreciate her honesty and cherish her friendship. But mostly, I hope she knows how very much I love her.

So here's to you Mom. Here's to all the moms out there who think that their children don't understand or notice all that they do. We really were listening, we really did pay attention.  And when we raise our own children (who are 10 times worse than we were) we will remember all the lessons you taught us. And when we hear our children say  'I'll never say that to my children', or 'I'll never ask my children to do that' or 'I'll never make my kids eat that', we will laugh hysterically and call someone who'll appreciate the humor. We'll call our mothers.

I love you Mom!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I've done a lot of First Birthday cakes recently and mom's are going all out for parties. First Birthdays are one of my favorite occasions. For me it usually means the beginning of a special relationship. I become 'The Cake Lady' for a family - a priveledge not too many get to experience. I also love being reminded of First Birthday's. It usually goes like this 'Hi. You did a cake for my little boy's/girl's first birthday last year.' or 'It's that time of year again! What flavor did we have last year?' 

The latest one I did was based on the invitations 'Mod Monkey'. This is the second time I have done this theme and still think the colors and monkey are adorable.

The design was based on a photo mom found on the internet, so I can't give credit to anyone, but isn't the design cute? The original cake had a two layer, side cake (I call it a smash cake) that was iced in chocolate with the monkey face on top and it was precious. I recommended to mom that we not do chocolate, that we do a fondant face instead (easily removed before demolition) and save mom the battle of chocolate cleanup in the midst of the party.  I wish I had gotten that advice before my first born dug into his cake which happened to be chocolate. Pictures were fun, cleanup not so much.

In the next few weeks there will be Second Birthday's celebrated and hopefully some tutorials on accessories for a Pirate theme. Arrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I am excited to tell you that in the coming weeks I will be delivering cupcakes to Greenville and Winterville, NC.  I am currently ironing out the specifics. If you work/study/live with people who might enjoy a cupcake (or two!) on Mondays and/or Wednesdays and you would like me to add your location to the route, please let me know ASAP. I will be stopping at the ECU campus, residence halls, local businesses, fire stations and police department and around the hospital. If you are not a fan already, become one on Facebook here. Or follow me on Twitter here. I will be updating my Facebook and Twitter pages with up to the minute locations, specials and flavors once I am on the road.

My last post I promised pictures of the Scooby Doo run-in from a cake last weekend. Unfortunately, I have children who think that if they can reach it, they can use it. And they reached my camera. The settings were changed and it won't take a picture. I couldn't even get a picture of the cake. My apologies to those who were waiting to see the tutorial.Once I fix the settings on it I will do another. Cross my heart.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


He'll be making an appearance on my cake this weekend! Since I haven't posted in a while (rut roh) I am going to post pictures of a cake-in-progress when I do it this weekend.  The order is for a 9 inch gluten-free yellow cake for a five year old who likes Scooby Doo. I will use the same technique I did for George on this cake.  Isn't he cute?

The technique is called run-in sugar aka run sugar, or flooding.The pattern was transfered to a piece of fondant (more on that this weekend), outlined in a thick glace and filled in with a thinned glace. Scooby will be done with this very technique.  The 'Glace' recipe I use is courtesy of Toba Garrett, an amazing decorator. You can see her work here.  From what I remember (I have been using it for years) the recipe was an alternative to royal icing for cookies. I prefer it as it tastes great and doesn't dry rock hard like RI.  If you would like a copy of the recipe just email me.

The cake will have some fun colors and funky flowers on it like the ones on the instantly recognizable van Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Freddie drove around in.

See you this weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Let me give you a bit of history about this first.  Do you have children? We have three. And if you do have children, you may understand this. You may think I am a horrid, selfish woman akin to Cruella De Vil for doing such a thing but that won't stop me. In our house, the kids mostly like what we like, especially when it comes to snacks. And sometimes we go to great lengths to ensure there will actually be certain snacks available when we get the hankering for them.  We hide them.  Go ahead, flog me now. But first hear me out. Have you ever had an intense craving for something? Have you gone to the pantry only to find that the package containing your heart's desire has been put back.....(gasp) empty? Do you know how frustrating that is? If you have ever found yourself near tears because of such an atrosity, you understand. (I know if you have kids you're nodding your head wildly and if you don't, you're snickering). Well this terrible act happens here. A lot.  Not to mention we have a 13 year old son who is 6'2", 190 pounds with a size 13 shoe and a 34" waist who could completely demolish a weeks worth of groceries in three days. So now that I've explained our need to harbor food, let's get on to what we stash. Me? I love chocolate and hazelnut, so it's Nutella and Ferrero Rocher. There just isn't a more perfect bite in my opinion. Well, maybe if they salted the hazelnuts in the center first.....

My husband? He's much more simple and it's Oreos for him. Just plain Oreos. No doubled filling, no chocolate coating, no special flavors like mint or peanut butter. Just regular ole Oreos and a big glass of cold, red top, full fat milk. The horror!  He just likes his milk to taste like milk, not white water.

Anyhow, on Tuesday, my world halted when I was grazing my favorite blogs. I came across a recipe for homemade Oreos. Stick a fork in me. I made them last night and have to say, they are wonderful.  And I don't even eat Oreos. But these are SO much better than what you buy at the store. Little investment, huge payoff.  I am my husband's hero. For now.

The original recipe is courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. Check her recipe because I changed the amount of sugar and salt in mine. The original says you can mix this in your standing mixer or food processor. I opted to use my KitchenAid food processor which I love almost as much as my KitchenAid standing mixers.

In the bowl I have 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 cup of sugar. It calls for salt but I left it out because I only had salted butter on hand.

I pulsed this a few times (just to combine it) and added 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of room-temperature butter. Pulsed it again a few times and added 1 egg.  I started scooping before I snapped the picture so you'll have a little more than this. It's got a cookie dough consistency.

I lined two jelly roll sheets with parchment and used a small scoop to measure the dough.  It's the easy way to get uniform cookies which matters to me, especially with sandwich-type cookies.

The recipe says to flatten them a little. Since I had two sheet pans, I flattened one more than the other just to see if they'd bake up different and found no noticeable difference in size or texture.
Bake at 375 for 9 minutes and cool.

The recipe gives you a recipe for the cream filling, but since I am a cake decorator by trade, I always have buttercream on hand. So I just used that. Since I don't have the pictures of that I will give you a great tip if you ever use decorating bags. Make a sleeve for your icing!
Lay a piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Put your icing in the middle, right up to the edge closest to you.

Bring the left side of the plastic wrap over top of the icing, then the right side. Think swaddling a baby.

Take the plastic from the back edge and twirl it (like a bread bag) and bring it down on itself towards the front edge. Then just drop it into your piping bag. I used a disposable bag for purpose of demonstration so you could see it.  When your 'sleeve' is empty just pull out the plastic and drop in a new one. It's so much easier than loading a new bag and makes cleanup easier.

Since I did four columns of cookies on my tray, I flipped all of them over, piped the filling down columns one and three. 

Then I put the tops on them pushing down gently. This step is a matter of preference and depends on how much filling you like. When you're making the filling it would also be a great time to add extracts. I would love mint, raspberry, cherry or some fresh peanut butter. If you add peanut butter you'll probably need to add more powdered sugar so the filling isn't so loose.

Mine did not come out like the recipe photos on SK's site. They looked more chewy than mine. Nevertheless, I'd say this recipe is could be very forgiving if you mess up and your results will still be delish.

Since I am the only one in my family that lives in North Carolina and often send edible gifts to my family in New Jersey, Texas, Philadelphia and Florida, I am always looking for recipes that will travel well and keep fresh. These fit the bill perfectly and I will definitely be adding these to future packages.

Monday, February 1, 2010


KS over at While We're Waiting is hosting a fantastic giveaway - A set of TWO Le Creuset Stoneware baking dishes! I personally love anything Le Creuset has but this Bakeware is right up my alley. Choose from a range of pretty colors. I'll take one of each, thank you very much! But if I am chosen as the lucky winner I will stick with the white.

I like to keep my dishes neutral so that I can decorate with placemats, tablecloths, pretty vases, etc. and my dinnerware will not clash. Trying to keep it simple and uncomplicated wherever I can...

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I am getting ready for Valentine's Day and if you know me, that's a miracle. I am THE queen of procrastination. It's terrible, really. Anyhow, this year I am vowing to change certain things, and being a habitual dilly dallyer is one of them.
Yesterday I sent out a newsletter to my customers and brides, past, present and future. My newsletter isn't anything grand. I have a contest, but I don't give away big fancy things like other bloggers. I'm not there yet. I give away money off your order or a free dessert of some sort. The reward this newsletter is $14 off or an order of red or pink velvet whoopie pies! The $14 is because of Valentines Day. So clever.
Normally I buy my kids something along the lines of a stuffed animal and candy and put a love note in my middle child's lunchbox. She appreciates small gestures. The youngest, who's 4, doesn't go to school (but he starts in approximately 206 days!) and doesn't read yet so he doesn't get the note. And the oldest, the Teenager, doesn't want a note. He doesn't want anything. But this year, since it falls on a Sunday, I decided I would go all out. Food will be heart shaped, notes will be written, heart garland will be hung, kisses will be planted. Because I need to change the energy of my environment and now I can do it without my motives being obvious. Plus I feel the need to be unabashedly silly for my kids this year. I want to do things that my kids will talk about when they're older and reminiscing at 2am. If you have siblings you know what exactly what I mean. 

Tell me your traditions, the silly things you already do, or the traditions you'd like to start. I'm curious to see who else acts like a fool for love.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Don't hate the team, love the cake! This is what I think is a cute cake done for a Duke basketball fan. I did his birthday cake last year and was told it was by far the best cake they had ever eaten! I love it when customers are that pleased with their order visually, but it's especially flattering when they love the way it tastes. It is a 9x13 chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream.
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Sunday, January 17, 2010


With the holidays behind us it's time to get back to the blog. Feels like confession..."Bless me bloggers for I have sinned. It has been 3 months since my last blog entry." But the time since my last blog entry hasn't been in vain. I have been 'researching'. You see, I got an early Christmas gift from my hubby, a Blackberry, aka crackberry (nicknamed appropriately for good reason) and I can't put it down. I downloaded Snaptu on it and have easy access to Twitter and Facebook and love the portability of it. No bulky laptop. So while I am finding amazing cake decorators, sugar artists and chefs on Twitter, I am also finding their amazing blogs. I will start posting their links as my favorites here in the near future.

They have been a welcome distraction to an otherwise difficult personal time. I will sum it up with one word. Teenagers. And that's all I have to say about that.

On the business front, December was slow, and that was a good thing. I found it, surprisingly, a relief. I didn't have too many wedding cakes and the same cake after cake with polka dots isn't too inspiring, but its what's requested so its what I do. Honestly I was starting to feel a little burnt out. But its a new year!!! Good things only, right? I have tastings lined up and I am running a wedding cake special (check out my site!) so I am hoping this year starts at a good pace. I have some ideas in the works for brides who are looking to save on wedding costs. I hear DIY weddings are a continuing trend so it will correlate nicely.

I also plan on starting 'The 21 day Consciousness Cleanse' courtesy of Debbie Ford by way of Oprah. It seems to be beneficial according to the reviews on Amazon and what better time than a fresh calendar year to embark on a cleanse? Not to mention it comes with goodies on Oprah's site. I love Oprah and think she is wicked inspiring. I was watching the show when she announced her last year and I am not ashamed to say, Oprah, I cried along with ya girl! But she's going to have her OWN network so I am looking forward to seeing what that brings. In the early days of talk shows that were redundant 'who's your daddy' shows, she became a breath of fresh air and a source of great spiritual information in my early adult years.

I hope all of you had wonderful holidays. I wish all of you different, fun and a wildly successful 2010!