Let’s talk about cake. Not just your average cake- but something that tastes amazing inside. Now, let’s talk about the outside of said cake. I cannot tell you how many cakes I have made that tasted so amazing yet looked like it got in a fight with the oven/frosting/kitchenaid. Ugly cakes may taste good, but cakes just seem to taste so much better when they are pretty!
The other day I was in Home Goods and this awesome Nutcracker cupcake kit jumped out at me. Buuuut… I don’t do cupcakes. In fact, I barely do cakes- mainly because they turn out so…ugly! And while I can handle many things, creating something ugly is just not one of them. The tiny characters inspired so much more than just a boring old cupcakes. And so I decided I was going to make a pretty cake. Just. Like. That.
The Nutcracker characters are dancing across a bed of fluffy marshmallows. The center piece? Well, the side of the box was pretty cute and I didn’t want it to go to waste… so I cut it out and used double sided tape and a toothpick to create the double-sided city/tree backdrop in the center.
I pinned a really great cake frosting tutorial (this one) on Pinterest and while not perfect, I think it turned out pretty well! Finally, a pretty cake. And the frosting is a stable cream cheese frosting so double yum. You can find the recipe for stable cream cheese frosting right here . I left out the sour cream, and used less powdered sugar to keep it from being too sweet. It turned out fantastic! Now to pass out forks! Cheers all!
Dear Blog World- I have sooo neglected you! You poor poor poor dear! I have been busily living 2015 and let me tell you, it has taken both hands to hold on! Now that we are in the Christmas season I feel comfortable enough to free up some energy to spend on being festive. To me, one of the best parts of giving gifts is the wrapping. I love looking at all the ideas on Pinterest and I use many of them, though they mostly get re-morphed into something else- gotta sprinkle everything with sparkle dust to make it my own!
Several months ago I was in my happy place (for those of you that don’t know, that would be Goodwill) and I found this awesome yellow and pink wrapping paper that immediately screamed ‘vintage’ and I knew I had to use it for Christmas! I know- yellow and pink aren’t really Christmas colors, so it’s just one of those things that you make happen. And so, I now dub yellow and pink as totally Christmas appropriate. I had this vintage whimsical thing going on in my brain and I really feel like it just… well, came together!
As you know, the best time to get Christmas paraphernalia is January: because this is the time that everything drops from a million dollars to like 2 cents. That would be the case with my totally amazing felt tree ribbon. Seriously, I think I paid 25 cents per roll at Hancocks. But since we are still in December, Michaels and Target have fabulous dollar aisles that will allow you to create fabulousness with a little creativity and just a few bucks. The felt ornament gift toppers as well as the vintage cards were all from Michaels dollar aisle. The other ornaments were half off at Hobby Lobby, which always has really great deals and really great stuff! I mean, what other store has a 40% off coupon that you can use whenever you want?!
At any rate, while these are not exactly ‘brown paper packages tied up with string’, they still fall under my personal ‘few of my favorite things’ category! Merry Christmas and may Santa bring you pretty packages (I hope the gifts are good too!;) )
Juicing or blending? There are those that swear by juicing, touting the benefits of concentrated natural vitamins: yet, there are others that refuse to leave behind the benefits found in the fiber gained by blending. I, for the most part, tend to fall in the latter category. Blending allows both the nutrients and the healthy fiber to be ingested, and, as an added bonus, the cleanup is much easier. As much as I would like to claim that I’m interested in the fiber aspect, I think in truth I was won over by the ‘easier cleanup’ part. Lol! Lately I have been enamored with ginger. It started as I was picking up a few items at Whole Foods and on a whim, decided to grab a juice from their totally epic amazing juice bar. The juice was called ‘Gingersnap’: and it was, as expected, both epic and amazing! It featured carrots, apple, and a touch of lemon: but the intense ginger definitely took center stage. And then I was hooked. A few days later I stopped at the Jamba Juice in the Las Vegas airport and was excited to see a ‘Greens and Ginger’ smoothie on the menu. And, of course, I ordered it. And it was SUBLIME! Sweet, earthy, tart and seriously spicy!
I went home determined to recreate something akin to these lovely green drinks and really must congratulate myself on how well my concoction turned out! If you like ginger, you will like this creation. Make it. And then, let’s raise our glasses of green in toast to the health benefits of ginger! Cheers!
- ¼ cup Apple Juice
- ¼ cup Carrot Juice
- 2 handfuls raw Spinach
- 1 ½ inches raw Ginger
- 3 Frozen Strawberries
- ½ Banana
- squeeze of Lemon
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy! *Note: This blends to the consistency of juice. If you prefer a smoothie texture, use frozen banana and 1/8 cup of carrot juice
Kitchen showers are new to me. On the west coast, we generally give kitchen items as wedding gifts, not at a pre-marriage party. Not so in the south! Here, kitchen showers seem to be a staple of life: a tradition that must not be overlooked! It seemed silly when I was young- people sitting around, watching the engaged couple opening serving spoons and recipe books and kitchen gadgets from great Aunt Mae. Boring. Besides, it’s not like they would ever USE all that stuff right?! When you have Trader Joes, all you need is a decent microwave and a bowl or two for cereal. Keep it simple. I never dreamed that one day I would be one of those people oohing and aahing over each newly unwrapped item, but alas, it is true. In my newly married domestic bliss, I now deem kitchen showers an absolute dream come true. Does this mean I am old? Or is it just a byproduct of moving halfway across the country and realizing the nearest Trader Joes is five hours away? At any rate, my husband’s cousin is getting married, so a kitchen shower was in order. It fell to us (my amazing MIL and I) to decorate, so here is what we came up with.
- Board: light weight (8 ft)
- Chains: four 3.5 ft chains
- Letters: store bought are fine- I made these out of foam with a hot knife and painted them
- Flowers: Kroger has fantastic ‘Manager’s Specials’ and you can get flowers for super cheap
First assemble the board. I put the letters on first and then hung it, but it could be done either way. You may need to run fishing line up the middle to keep the wood from bowing it is too flimsy. If your ceiling can handle it, I recommend a stronger board so it doesn’t bow.
Next, lay down a good amount of greenery. We cut most of this from our yard, but we had to buy the eucalyptus.
Soak your oasis- you should need a minimal amount unless you want a lot more flowers. Place the oasis on small plates on the board. Fill in the board with flowers: I personally tried to concentrate them in a few areas and left a lot more greenery for a more wild look, but it could easily be tamed by making it more uniform and using more flowers.
Last, weave boxwood up the chains.
Here’s a few pics of the finished product.
And here is what we came up with as their backdrop for opening presents.
Best wishes to these two and happy creating to you all!
Ideas linger in the mind, swirling mists of almost being, a mental wisp of potential drifting through: light, airy, dreamy, floating, teasing us to follow it into endless possibility. We yearn to follow- but we fear that our efforts might fail; and the unrealized possibility of “I could if I wanted to…” is far more attractive than the harsh actualization of a fledgling dream terminated by failure.
So, millions of ideas of the grandest and most fantastic scale remain trapped within our tiny heads, bullied by stronger thoughts of fear or dominated by life’s never ending press of responsibility. We allow the bright possibility of “someday” to paralyze the often messy actualization of “now” to avoid disappointments. We circumvent the disappointments that wait in the wings for us to stumble in order to overtake and confine us once again to a safe normalcy: a soft place where we do not feel the sting of let down. Yet neither do we experience the exhilarating, terrifying, glorious adrenaline of flight. We turn away, gripping our places of mental ease; but no matter how we push them away, our imagination always returns, a sweet breeze, a light bird, a tiny fleeting thought beckoning, “Come fly with me…”
Follow your dreams. Actualize your ideas. Come fly with me.